The Everlasting Appeal of Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi – the sportsman, the entertainer, the legend. Rossi has single-handedly dominated the last 15 years of motorcycle racing, since his first ever World Championship win in the 250cc class in 1999.
The charming Italian has not only spectacular skills on the circuit, but is charismatic and fun when he is off the bike as well, which is part of the reason he enjoys worldwide popularity from MotoGP fans everywhere.
Rossi started racing young – his father, Graziano Rossi, was also a motorcycle racer and his son would clearly follow in his footsteps and take his number '46'.
From the age of five, Rossi was kart racing with a 100cc engine installed by his father, and in 1990 at the age of eleven, he won the regional karting championships.
For a while, Rossi was looking at moving into the Italian 100cc series which would have potentially led to him becoming a Formula One star; however, the cost of karts eventually led him to pick up MiniMoto and begin racing exclusively on a bike.
Skills on Two Wheels
Soon after winning the Italian title, Rossi moved on to the World Championships and pit his skills on the main stage. Since then, he has continually dominated the sport, winning a total of 6 MotoGP titles since its initiation in 2002.
Despite his constant winning, the crowd, far from becoming bored of the same results in each race, fell more and more in love with the skills and personality of Rossi, and affectionately nicknamed him 'The Doctor' due to his precision when cutting out rivals.
There have been few people who have stepped up and claimed to rival Rossi. The one who came closest was Casey Stoner in 2007, who took the MotoGP World Championship title that year.
In 2008, the rivalry came to a head. In a bitter battle between the two at the Laguna Seca Raceway, during which both men veered off the track, there were many occasions where a collision seemed imminent, but Rossi managed to squeeze out Stoner and win the race.
There were some heart-stopping moments during this race and you can see them below…
Stoner claimed afterwards that Rossi had been 'too aggressive' and that he had lost respect for him, a comment which he later apologised for. This put an end to the rivalry and Rossi was once again uncontested.
The Mature Rossi
Recently, now well into his thirties, Rossi has not been winning as many titles, but he still holds a place in every MotoGP fan's heart as the first and best, motorcycle racer the series will probably ever see.
He was most recently seen in the UK at the Goodwood Festival of Speed where he thrilled the crowds with a variety of rides and personal appearances. As you can see in this clip he certainly know how to entertain.
Long after his retirement, 'the Doctor's' personality, charm and resulting popularity will continue to permeate the sport for years to come and Rossi will be the mark that other riders will have to live up to.
If you want to fly to see Valentino Rossi at Silverstone for the next MotoGP then contact the Atlas Operations team to arrange your flight. You can depart from a location of your choice and arrive in a sparkling mood with complimentary champagne and light in-flight catering.