Spontaneous, charismatic, cheeky, fast, winner. Those are all the attributes that make the Italian Valentino Rossi one of the most successful riders in the history of motorcycling. In each maneuver, in each victory and in each declaration he prints that stamp that makes him unique (as the greats usually do). Like that number 46 to which he has been faithful since he started racing on two wheels and which, with the passage of time, was adopted by his fans as an identification of absolute loyalty. There are millions of stories behind Valentino and those double digits. Today Automundo tells you 46 ...
1. There are two reasons why Rossi has been using the 46 since the days of mini bikes. The first because his father Graziano had it when he won his first World Cup race in 1979. Also because he was the one who identified the Japanese wildcard Norifume Abe, who impressed him running in the rain.
2. Only in 2001, when he won the 500 cc title, Valentino had to rethink the possibility of painting the fairing of his motorcycle 1. He gave up doing it and in this way he imitated English Barry Sheene, who wore the 7 in 1977 despite being crowned champion the year before.
3. With winning his sixth MotoGP title, another possibility arose for Rossi to paint the number 1 on his bike. But he ruled it out again: “I'm definitely going to have 46, because it's my number and everyone knows it. Sometimes I feel a little sad because 1 is a great number, but I always ran with 46 and I will continue to do so. Of course, I will have the 1 on my back as happened other times ”.
4. 2008 was a particular year for Rossi. On the one hand he broke a streak of two seasons without titles, but on the other he lost one of his great friends: Guido, his bulldog, with whom he claims to have had "Nice conversations about life." As a tribute, Valentino painted the dog with wings simulating an angel on his motorcycle.
5. The saying says that no one is a prophet in his land, but that is not the case with Valentino Rossi. The small town of Tavullia, where he was born, decided to change the speed limit. From 50 km / h it went to 46 km / h. No need to explain the reasons ...
6. At the end of 2006 the Italian journalist Enrico Borghi published the autobiography of the motorcyclist. It's called "Valentino Rossi - Imagine if I hadn't tried." Of course he talks about his relationship with the number 46. "It sums up my whole life," he said.
7. La Pollería Osvaldo has a prominent place in Rossi's universe. He became famous in 1998 when the Italian wore a T-shirt with his legend during one of his victories. But does it exist? Rino Salucci, a neighbor of Tavullia, tells the true story: “We used to play singles versus married soccer and one day we came up with a sponsor on the jerseys. We put Pollería Osvaldo, which didn't exist. When Valentino won at Montmelo in 1998, he got on the podium with the jersey and rode the chicken Osvaldo on the motorcycle. The repercussion was such that there were journalists who wanted to visit the chicken shop. We took one from the RAI to a corral, but we told him that he couldn't get closer than a hundred meters. He threw the questions and one of us pretended to be Osvaldo, but he threw eggs at him out the window and told him that he would only see Valentino. "
8. This started as a joke almost became a reality after the endorsement agreement that Yamaha signed in 2007 with Agrícola Italiana Alimentare, a company specialized in chicken products. Thanks to that, the Italian's motorcycle sported the Wudy logo, one of the most famous brands in the AIA, which specializes in chicken sausages.
9. It is also worth talking about the Chihuhua Tribe, an inscription that has a prominent place in the Italian's helmet and that refers to the group of friends that Rossi has maintained since his childhood.
10. Throughout a season, Rossi usually wears several helmets decorated with different motifs and legends. Once he used one that read: "To improve the result, immerse the motorcycle in warm water at 46º."
11. In 2007, the Italian Milo Manara published a comic called Forty-Six that recounts the adventures of Valentino Rossi. In this comic the Doctor fights Billy Fox in every race. This character wears the number 3 on his motorcycle and is inspired by Max Biaggi, with whom Rossi had several duels in MotoGP.
12. But Mad Max was not the only great rival he had throughout his sports campaign. His confrontation with the Spanish is also remembered Sete Gibernau. With the Roman, with whom he fought on the track because of the sympathy of his compatriots, you cannot even see; while with Sete he always had a good relationship.
13. There is also a cartoon version of "Forty-Six" that came out on DVD at a price of 22.90 euros. Among the personalities who voiced the characters in Manara's comic, Luca Cordero Di Montezemolo, who voiced Enzo Ferrari, stands out.
14. The Italian singer-songwriter Lucio Dalla dedicated a song to him. Is named "Two fingers under the sky" and it has to do with the classic victory gesture that Rossi makes every time he wins. The song was part of an album that was released in 2007.
15. During his sporadic appearances in the World Rally Championship, Valentino always used 46 on the cars he drove. But in a Wales Rally he had to borrow it from the Finn Jari Ketomaa, who had it assigned to him. “I never got on a motorcycle or a car in an official test without him. Jari was very kind to lend it to me ”, said the Italian.
16. In addition to getting into rally cars, the Doctor had the pleasure of trying a Formula 1 Ferrari. Obviously, he had the number 46 on his horn ...
17. For the 2008 Catalan Grand Prix, Rossi had his Yamaha painted blue in honor of the Italian soccer team. It also changed the design of the 46 that had an aesthetic similar to the numbers used on the players' jerseys.
18. At the end of 2007, the Fiat brand introduced the 500 model. Taking advantage of the agreement with Yamaha, Rossi specially decorated his motorcycle. Shortly after, the Turinese house returned the gesture by personalizing one of its brand-new models, which had a huge number 46 on its hood with the Italian flag in the background.
19. In 2005, Yamaha Motor released a limited edition YZF called the R46. In its design stood out the graphics of the sun and the moon that Valentino Rossi wore on his helmet during his first year as a pilot of the house of the fingerboard.
20. The watchmaking firm Breil, which has sponsored Valentino Rossi since he was running in 125cc, launched a quartz chronograph with the number 3 imprinted on the dial.
21. An auction on eBay paid € 13.500 for the AGV helmet that Valentino wore at the 2007 Italian Grand Prix. The piece, with a huge number 46 on the front, was designed by Aldo Drudi. In the auction there were also other elements used by the Italian. The proceeds - more than 70.000 euros - went to the association "Un sogno per il Gaslini Onlus" ("A dream for the Gaslini hospital").
22. Like King Midas, everything Valentino touches turns to gold. If your sponsors are not in charge of doing it. The Italian brand of AGV helmets put on sale in 2008 the “FACE VR by AVG” model, which is none other than a replica of the one used by the Italian in a race at Mugello and which was characterized by having his face printed on top. It was $ 700.
23. That is one more of the many models that AVG has sold since it has been with Valentino Rossi. That is why during the 2008 San Marino GP the company named him Honorary President.
24. Some time ago Valentino was asked if he would like number 46 to be removed when he stops running. His answer was a synthesis of his personality: “I would have no problem with anyone using it. Because that way people will remember that 46 was the number of Valentino Rossi and not of any other ”.
25. Valentino feels deep admiration for Diego Maradona, whom he described as "The Olympian god of sport". During the 2008 San Marino GP he had the opportunity to tell him personally, as the former footballer went to visit him in his box. "He kissed my wrists and I kissed his foot", He said. And when he won the 2015 Argentine GP, he took the podium wearing an Argentine national team jersey with the legendary Maradona 10.
26. Obviously the Italian is also admired by other personalities. One of them is the American actor Brad Pitt. “We are public figures and it is rare that we have idols, but I have one who is above all: Valentino Rossi. I would give everything to be like him ", said the interpreter of films such as Babel, Oceans Eleven and Troya in an interview with the specialized magazine Riders Italian Magazine.
27. Interestingly, one of the people Rossi couldn't beat is the beautiful Angelina Jolie, Pitt's ex-wife. In 2006, Motorcycle News magazine conducted a survey among its readers to find out who was the ideal personality to share a motorcycle trip. Jolie got 25 percent of the vote; while Vale, the 21.
28. One of the most emotional moments of the 2008 MotoGP season was lived during the French GP. Valentino won that race and added his 90th World Cup triumph. In this way, he equaled the Spanish Ángel Nieto. To commemorate the feat, both went around the circuit with a sign that read 90 + 90.
29. The victories continued and Rossi currently accumulates 114 World Cup successes, something that puts him close to the absolute record in the hands of his compatriot Giacomo Agostini with 122. Can he reach it? The Doctor affirms that “everything is possible”, although he considers it “really difficult”.
30. In June 2007, Rossi accelerated like never before. It was during the inauguration of the Furius Baco game at the Spanish amusement park PortAventura. On this attraction he reached 135 km / h in just 3 seconds. “The feeling of acceleration is impressive. Very different from a motorcycle ", he confessed.
31. The Italian also has a place on his schedule for the recognitions. In 2005, for example, he received the title of "Doctor honoris causa" in Communication and Public Relations from the University of Urbino. It was what he needed to make his nickname of The Doctor official.
32. Like the great idols, Valentino Rossi has several nicknames. But how were they born? The Doctor It was an occurrence of the pilot himself, which has to do with the fact that most of the Rossi surnamed in his native Tavullia were doctors (in the telephone directories of Italy the profession of the people is usually put). Rossifumi It is a combination of his last name and the nickname his idol had Norifume Abe, whom in Japan they called Norifumi. While Valentinik I devise it combining a super pilot, Superman and a masked bandit.
33. The presence of Valentino Rossi on the Internet is directly proportional to his fame. Their official page is valentinorossi.com, although fans also have sites dedicated to Italian. Some of them are Rossifumi.it, Fanclubvalentinorossi.com, Forza46.com, Valentinorossi.org, Rossifiles.com, Rossimania.com or Fansderossi.es.
34. Argentine motorcycle riders -those who are doing paperwork in the metropolis- have adoration for Valentino. Just walk down the street and pay special attention to their motorcycles: most of them proudly wear the famous number 46.
35. Creole fanaticism can go a little further, as evidenced by a garage in Parque Centenario, in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Caballito, whose entrance is decorated with a billboard of the famous Italian pilot.
36. And another that has Rossi on a pedestal is Bernie Ecclestone, the former boss of the F1. He always put it as an example of what a pilot has to do to win the hearts of the public. On more than one occasion, the Englishman said that he would do anything to have him among the Maxima pilots: “I hope that one day it will come and that Ferrari will give him a car. It is the only team in which I see it well ”, ever said.
37. But since he has his followers, he also has some detractors. One of them is Flavio Briatore, former team-manager of the Renault Formula 1 team. “I wouldn't give him a car. He belongs to the world of motorcycles. It has no rival there and some say that without MotoGP it would be half what it is ", he sentenced. However, he acknowledged that Rossi's flamboyant personality would be "very good" for Formula 1: "Like everyone, like rock stars."
38. How does Valentino react to such a show of affection? He says it himself: “When people see me and come towards me a little agitated, it is a little strange. Many do not understand it, but we are all normal people here, with their virtues, their defects, their fears, one day we are well and the next we are bad, we are normal. It is not that I am angry but I would like to explain to them that there is not so much difference between them and me ”.
39. Something that Valentino has to spare is faith in himself. That is why a few years ago he challenged Fernando Alonso to measure himself on a motorcycle and an F-1, but he had no answer from Nano. “I gave him a triple challenge: MotoGP, Formula 1 and a rally. He did his math and realized he would lose, so he said Formula 1 drivers don't have time for such nonsense. It's a shame because I like Alonso, he's a pilot with balls, but he wasn't very nice there ”, he claimed.
40. Eager to face someone, he also launched a challenge against the Australian Troy bayliss, one of the great champions of Superbikes. His idea was to compete on SBK bikes to find out which one is the best. The Aussie king accepted, but on one condition: that they pay him one million euros ...
41. Of course he gets challenges too. One came from the hand of Michael Schumacher, who during a participation in a Race of Champions said that he would have liked to have the Italian as a rival: “I would not have been disgusted to challenge him here since he is also strong in cars. I also encourage myself to challenge him on a motorcycle ". Vale's answer never came ...
42. With Schumi they met several times. Even the German advised him during the tests he carried out for Ferrari on time. Obviously he has it in a good concept: “He made a difference because he dedicated all his life and energy to Formula 1. His talent is also great, but his determination contributed to his success. He's a driver who if he thinks he has to have a technical meeting at eleven o'clock at night because he has to change the slightest thing in his car, he goes and does it ”, ever claimed.
43. During his early years in 500 cc, Valentino had the invaluable help of Australian Michael Doohan, a five-time premier class champion. “Doohan had a different riding style than mine. He didn't use cornering speed as much, so he had fewer problems with adjustments. He used to skid and go, like a real 500 racer. I was once able to see his telemetry data and he was really fast. He made the difference, not the bike ", Assured.
44. Rossi had big problems with the Italian treasury, which accused him of evading more than thirty million euros. Finally, he paid only eight. “He had two possibilities: he could fight against the treasury and not pay or do it and return to Italy. I decided to make a bet on the future. I thought: 'I have a lot of money, a lot, but I have to pay because that's how I'm calm, I go back home and I have many years ahead of me to earn more money.' So I did it", he confessed.
45. Argentina is also within the Italian universe. Here he achieved his fifth victory in 250 cm3 during the 1998 edition. The following year, when he won the quarter-liter title, he also made the podium when he finished third. In 2015 he even had the pleasure of winning at Termas de Río Hondo, a new setting for the World Cup date.
46. Valentino Rossi owes much of his fame to his original celebrations. He was arrested by a policeman, struck with some giant pine trees and even a clerk drew up a report. The explanation of each genius has to do with the way in which he wants the public to remember him: "Like a pilot who wanted to have fun when he raced."