They say with age comes a cage, but in the case of nine-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi, it’s fair to cut the legendary ‘Doctor’ a bit of slack.
Over 26 seasons, the now 43-year-old, from Urbino in Italy, became a global icon, recruited millions of fans, established incredible records and synonymously linked the Rossi name forever with elite motorcycle racing. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to argue against the fact that he has single-handedly shaped the course of modern motorcycle Grand Prix racing.
It’s not just the championship title alone that are stand-out either. Celebrating a massive 432 Grand Prix starts, 235 podiums, and 115 wins, Rossi’s race-craft and sheer natural speed enabled some of the greatest battles for fans to witness worldwide – all with his own unique style and flair.
Rossi is the only rider in history to win World Championships in 125cc, 250cc, 500cc and MotoGP, and he is the only rider to have started 400 or more races in the sport's history; while scoring 89 victories in the Premier Class in the process.
No-one in the history of grand prix racing has ever come close.
The phenomenon of Rossi is so great, that even for reigning 2021 MotoGP champion Fabio Quartararo, The Doctor was the inspiration to dedicate his life to MotoGP. “Valentino was and is my idol,” explained Fabio. “When I was six I saw one of his races and he was overtaking on the last corner in Jerez in 2005, and that was the moment I wanted to be there, fighting with MotoGP riders.”
VR46 on Four Wheels
Of course, when in November 2021, Rossi decided to hang up his race leathers once and for all, it came as no surprise that he would continue racing in some form. A life of speed and competition is not something that you can simply mic-drop on.
Alongside running his own VR46 racing team in MotoGP, Rossi committed to a campaign driving in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe, Powered By AWS. Signed to drive a Audi R8 LMS for Team WRT, Rossi has been taking in some of his favorite circuits from his new four wheel office since the season began at Imola in early April.