|Height:||181 cm (5' 12'')|
|Birth Day:||February 16, 1979|
|Birth Place:||Urbino, Italy|
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|181 cm (5' 12'')||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
He won his first go-kart racing championship at age 11.
He has always raced with the number 46 in his motorcycle grand prix career, the number his father had raced with in the first of his three grand prix career wins in 1979, in Yugoslavia, on a 250c Morbidelli. Typically, a World Championship winner is awarded the No. 1 sticker for the next season. However, in a homage to Britain's Barry Sheene, who was the first rider of the modern era to keep the same number (#7), Rossi has stayed with the now-famous No. 46 throughout his career, though as the world champion he has worn the No. 1 on the shoulder of his racing leathers.
Rossi won the regional kart championship in 1990. After this he took up minimoto and before the end of 1991 had won numerous regional races.
In 1993, with help from his father, Virginio Ferrari, Claudio Castiglioni and Claudio Lusuardi (who ran the official Cagiva Sport Production team), Rossi rode a Cagiva Mito 125cc motorcycle for the team, which he damaged in a first-corner crash no more than a hundred metres from the pit lane. He finished ninth that race weekend.
In 1994, Rossi raced in the Italian 125 CC Championship with a prototype called Sandroni, using a Rotax engine. The bike was built by Guido Mancini, a former rider and mechanic who had worked, in the past, with Loris Capirossi. A documentary about Mancini, called "Mancini, the Motorcycle Wizard" (Il Mago Mancini), was released in 2016 by director Jeffrey Zani and explains the birth of the motorcycle and the relationship between Rossi and the mechanic.
In 1995, Rossi switched to Aprilia and won the Italian 125 CC Championship. He was third in the European Championship.
The 1996 championship season marks the debut of Rossi in grand prix motorcycle racing. He had some success in his first year, scoring consistent points and sometimes finishing just off the podium from his very first race at Malaysia to Italy, but retired in both the French and Dutch rounds. He scored more points by finishing fifth at the German race but suffered another retirement at the British round.
At the 1996 Austrian Grand Prix, Rossi scored his first ever podium in the form of a third place after battling with Jorge Martínez. At the following race, which was the 1996 Czech Republic Grand Prix, he scored his first ever pole position on Saturday and his first ever race victory in the 125cc class on an AGV Aprilia RS125R on Sunday, after fighting with Jorge Martínez.
Since commencing his Grand Prix career, Rossi has worn leathers from Dainese. In 1996 and 1997, Alpinestars was a sponsor on his bike, but did not supply Rossi with leathers. Alpinestars just supplied racing boots for Rossi. After Rossi joined the Yamaha Factory Team, the team wore shirts from Alpinestars, while Rossi maintained his association with Dainese. In 2011 and 2012, Rossi was a member of the Ducati factory team, where the team wore shirts from Puma, while Rossi still maintained his association with Dainese. In 2016, Rossi has a new jacket from Dainese. His jacket has a different graphic compared with Alpinestars Movistar Yamaha jacket.
After winning the title in 1997, Rossi moved up to the 250cc class the following year.
In 1998, the Aprilia RS250 was reaching its pinnacle and had a team of riders in Rossi, Loris Capirossi and Tetsuya Harada. Rossi's year started off poor, retiring in the first two rounds: Japan and Malaysia. He came back from this by scoring three consecutive second places in Spain, Italy and France, but retired once more at the Madrid round.
After achieving the 250cc World Championship in 1999, Rossi was given a seat with Honda in what was then the highest class in World Championship motorcycle racing, the 500cc. Retired five-time 500cc World Champion Mick Doohan, who had also had Jeremy Burgess as chief engineer, worked with Rossi as his personal mentor in his first year at Honda. It was also the first time Rossi raced against Max Biaggi.
Rossi finished first in the championship with 306 points, 72 points ahead of second-place Jorge Lorenzo. Six wins was the lowest number of wins Rossi has had in a championship winning season; the previous minima were nine in 1999 in the 250cc class and 2003, 2004 and 2008 in MotoGP. Rossi also failed to win at Mugello for the first time since 2001.
Rossi won his first 500cc title with 325 points and third title overall, 106 points ahead of Biaggi, who became Rossi's main rival during the season. As of 2020, Rossi is the last satellite rider to clinch the title in the premier class. During the season, Rossi also teamed up with American rider Colin Edwards for the Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race aboard a Honda VTR1000SPW, becoming the first Italian rider to win the race. The pair won the race despite Rossi's lack of experience racing superbikes. In 2002, 500cc two-strokes were still allowed, but saw the beginning of the 990cc four-stroke MotoGP class, after which the 500cc machines essentially became obsolete.
Beyond his interest in F1, Rossi's strong passion is for rallying. In Rossi's youth one of his heroes was WRC Champion Colin McRae. Rally legend McRae taught Rossi the basics of driving a rally car. The two competed against each other at the 2005 Monza Rally Show, with McRae driving a Skoda Fabia WRC and Rossi winning in a Subaru Impreza WRC. His first official foray into rallying came in 2002 at WRC Rally Great Britain in a Peugeot 206 WRC, in which he crashed out on the second stage (first non-superspecial stage).
In 2002 he received threats from an Italian-Spanish anarchist movement, which in those days sent parcel bombs to people it considered targets in either of the two countries. The anarchists considered Rossi "guilty" because at the time he rode for Honda's MotoGP factory team, it had been sponsored by the oil company Repsol since 1994, (for which he filmed a commercial in Spain.) with their logo displayed on both the motorcycle and on his race suits.
After a strong 2002, Rossi continued to dominate in 2003 even though he got some competition from emerging Spaniard Sete Gibernau. Rossi scored consistent podiums, took pole and won the first round of the season in Japan, but the race was marred by the death of Japanese rider Daijiro Kato who crashed at the 130R and hit the barrier at high speed in the ensuing Casio Triangle. Rossi finished second at the South African round before winning again in Spain, despite falling back to ninth place on the opening lap.
In his autobiography What If I'd Never Tried It?, Rossi makes a number of claims about the reasons for his rivalry with Biaggi, and some of the incidents which led to its escalation. The rivalry was also featured in the 2003 documentary film, Faster.
Rossi's closest rival in the 2003 and 2004 seasons was Sete Gibernau, riding for the Gresini Team Movistar Honda on a satellite RC211V in 2004 and then on an all but in name factory RC211V, which Gibernau helped to develop, in 2005. Initially they were quite friendly in the paddock and off – Gibernau partied on occasions with Rossi at the Italian's Ibiza villa – but a souring in their relationship began in the 2004 season and culminated in the "Qatar Incident" that same season when Rossi's team was penalized for "cleaning" his grid position to aid in traction, along with Honda Pons' Max Biaggi, and both riders were subsequently forced to start from the back of the grid. A number of teams, including Gibernau's Team Gresini and the official Repsol Honda factory team, appealed successfully to race direction for Rossi to be sanctioned. Rossi and his chief engineer, Jeremy Burgess, insisted that they were doing nothing more than what many others had done before when faced with a dirty track and Rossi accused Gibernau of being behind the move to appeal for a sanction, something the Spaniard categorically denied. Rossi accused Gibernau in 2015 that he was "playing a dirty game".
Partnered with increased scepticism that the reason for his success was the dominance of the RC211V rather than Rossi, it was inevitable that Honda and Rossi would part. Mid-season rumours pointed towards a possible move to Ducati, which sent the Italian press into a frenzy; the concept of Rossi on the great Italian bike seemed too good to be true. Ducati did indeed try to seduce Rossi into riding their MotoGP bike, the Desmosedici, but for numerous reasons Rossi passed the offer up. Critics say that compared to the other manufacturers, Ducati had a significant way to go before being competitive even with Rossi at the helm. This proved to be the truth with Ducati's lacklustre performance in the 2004 season, which had actually been worse than their inaugural year in MotoGP in 2003. In his 2005 autobiography, What If I'd Never Tried It?, Rossi offered another reason for choosing Yamaha over Ducati, saying that the mindset at Ducati Corse was similar to the one he was trying to escape from at Honda. Ultimately, Rossi signed a two-year contract with rivals Yamaha reportedly worth in excess of US$12 million; a price no other manufacturer, even Honda, was willing to pay.
In 2005, Rossi and the Factory Yamaha team proved to be even more dominant than the year before. Rossi immediately began the season by capturing pole and winning the first round in Spain in a controversial manner, colliding with the Gresini Honda of Sete Gibernau on the last lap. He scored a second-place finish in Portugal but then went on to take five consecutive victories from the Chinese to the Dutch rounds, including three pole positions in France, Italy and Assen.
On 31 May 2005 he received an honorary degree in Communications and Advertising for Organizations. In March 2010, the Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini delivered to Rossi the first Winning Italy Award for his contribution to the promotion of Italy's image in the world.
The 2006 season started off with Rossi once again being the favourite to win the title. However, at the very first round in Spain, Rossi was unlucky when Toni Elías misjudged his braking point into a corner and hit the rear wheel of the Italian, who crashed into the gravel as a result. He rejoined the race but only managed to finish 14th. In the next race in Qatar, he scored his first win of the season but finished just off the podium in the next round in Turkey.
After Rossi lost the title in 2006, he nonetheless tried again in 2007 as he was still one of the favourites to win the championship. The bike power was reduced from 990cc to 800cc for this season and over the winter, Yamaha worked on a new bike fitting these specifications for both Rossi and Colin Edwards. In the season opener in Qatar, Rossi took his first pole position of the year on Saturday but came second to Casey Stoner on the Ducati on Sunday, who had made the switch from the LCR Honda team to the Factory Ducati team. Rossi then won the second race in Spain to bounce back. In Turkey, Rossi clinched another pole on Saturday but eventually finished way down in tenth position after running wide on the fast turn eleven when he pushed hard to break away on the opening lap. Rossi fought his way back to second, overtaking Loris Capirossi on lap nine, but lost positions quickly after the Michelin tyres started to fade and he suffered from a mysterious lack of speed, which allowed Toni Elías, Capirossi, John Hopkins, Marco Melandri and Alex Barros to overtake him within three laps. Stoner led every lap, won the race and gained a 10-point lead over Rossi in the process.
Stoner dominated the season, winning ten races to take his first title, 125 points clear of second place Dani Pedrosa. Rossi on the other hand, finished in third place with 241 points, six less than in 2006. This was Rossi's lowest championship position since his first season in 1996 in the 125cc. Pedrosa's win in the last race at Valencia combined with Rossi's retirement meant that he beat Rossi by a single point.
After two frustrating seasons where Rossi and Yamaha lost the title for two consecutive seasons to Nicky Hayden's Honda and Casey Stoner's Ducati, critics started to doubt if he was capable of ever winning another title. Few people thought Some said he should retire, whilst others assumed that Casey Stoner would win his second title or that Dani Pedrosa would become a genuine title contender after his strong performances in 2006 and 2007. This was also the year he switched from Michelin to Bridgestone tyres, which Rossi claimed was needed to "boost his motivation". His new teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, did not opt for the change.
Casey Stoner emerged as a rival for Rossi when he moved from the LCR team in 2006 to the official Factory Ducati team in 2007. Over the course of the season, Rossi and Stoner frequently battled for wins - particularly in Catalunya and China - but the young Australian had the better of Rossi in many of the races thanks to the strong Ducati and Bridgestone combination and the underperforming Yamaha Rossi had, resulting in his claiming of the 2007 MotoGP World Championship title.
Rossi tested the Ferrari Formula One car in 2006 on 31 January, 1 February, and 2 February at Valencia. The first test saw Rossi spin out on the damp track into the gravel trap, ending his day. On the second day, he posted the ninth fastest time of fifteen drivers, approximately one second behind Michael Schumacher, who himself was third fastest. Rossi lapped faster than seasoned drivers Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber and David Coulthard and Toyota F1's Jarno Trulli. On the final day of testing, Rossi was just a little more than a half second behind Schumacher's best time. Schumacher hailed Rossi as having immense talent and said he would be perfectly capable of moving to Formula One and being competitive immediately.
In May 2006, Rossi announced that he would be staying in MotoGP until he felt his work on the motorbike was "finished." Ferrari driver Schumacher said that he felt "saddened" by Rossi's decision but supported it. Rossi subsequently signed a new contract with Yamaha for the 2007 and 2008 seasons, then for 2009 and 2010.
In October 2006 it was announced that Rossi would enter that year's Rally New Zealand, a WRC event, which was to run from 17 to 19 November. He competed in a Subaru Impreza WRC04 finishing 11th out of 39. In 2006 Rossi also won the Monza Rally Show driving a Ford Focus RS WRC 04. He beat the 2005 winner Rinaldo Capello by 24 seconds, winning five of the seven stages on his way. He also managed to outpace former WRC champion Didier Auriol by seven seconds in the head-to-head Master Show final. Rossi also announced at the 2006 Monza Rally Show, that he would be entering the 2007 Rally of Great Britain, however, he later opted out. At the 2007 Monza Rally, Rossi again took first place.
Rossi had been linked with a move to both Formula One and the World Rally Championship in 2007, having tested for Ferrari and competed in a number of rally events.
According to Sports Illustrated, Rossi is one of the highest-earning sports personalities in the world, having earned an estimated $34 million in 2007. In 2009 Forbes ranked Rossi as number nine among the world's highest-paid athletes having earned an estimated $35 million in the past year.
In 2007, the Italian tax authorities declared Rossi was being investigated for suspected tax evasion. Having previously unsuccessfully investigated Rossi for tax evasion in 2002, the authorities announced they were investigating Rossi for undeclared revenues of 112 million euros ($160 million) between 2000 and 2004. The officials said, against the European Taxes Agreements among European countries, Rossi's London residency has enabled him to take advantage of favourable tax conditions, such as only declaring earnings made in Britain and avoiding taxes on his lucrative merchandising and sponsorship contracts, commenting that Rossi had residency in London but his "centre of interests" wasn't there, as shown by a thorough investigation. It noted that in 2002, Rossi's Italian tax form declared earnings of 500 euros, while sponsorship contracts were all reported to be made out to foreign companies, but with his affairs controlled mainly from Italy. In February 2008, Rossi announced that he had reached a settlement with the Italian tax authorities: he paid 35 million euros to close the tax case. He also plea-bargained a suspended sentence of six months' imprisonment for non-declaration of income.
After the unexpected success and title of Rossi in 2008, many expected him to be a strong contender in 2009. Rossi took two consecutive second places: a regular podium in Qatar and a pole-podium in Japan, the race won by Rossi's teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
The rivalry cooled down when Rossi won back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009 whilst Stoner struggled with the Ducati for multiple seasons, suffered from a mystery illness and various crashes - despite still battling hard with Rossi on some occasions.
In 2008, Jorge Lorenzo joined Rossi in the Factory Yamaha team which started a new rivalry. Initially, relationships were friendly; Rossi won the 2008 title while Lorenzo suffered two serious crashes at Shanghai and Laguna Seca which prevented any serious rivalries from ever starting to begin with, Rossi concentrated more on his rivalry with Casey Stoner at the time.
But Rossi decided to remain in MotoGP; "I have a contract with Yamaha until 2008," said Rossi. "When that finishes then we will see. What I am sure about is that I will ride until I'm 31 or 32 at most. I will look for new stimuli in the next few seasons, but for now I am fully motivated". Rossi signed a new two-year contract confirming he will be at Yamaha until 2010. He originally planned to use the Impreza WRC2008 during his participation in the Rally GB in December 2008, but decided to drive a Ford Focus RS WRC 07 instead. He finished the rally in 12th place, 13 minutes and 20.4 seconds behind eventual winner Sébastien Loeb.
Rossi keeps his personal life private, though he makes no secret of his fondness for Italian football club Internazionale. After he won world titles in 2008 and 2009, Inter congratulated him via their website. At the 2015 Argentine Grand Prix, Rossi wore a replica Diego Maradona football shirt on the podium in tribute to Maradona after Rossi won the race. Maradona congratulated him via his Facebook.
On 8 June 2009, Rossi rode a Yamaha around the famous Snaefell Mountain Course in an exhibition lap at the 2009 Isle of Man TT alongside Agostini, in what was called 'The Lap of the Gods'. This had been delayed by 48 hours due to bad weather. He also performed the garlanding ceremony for the Superbike podium, bestowing the podium of John McGuinness, Steve Plater and Guy Martin.
In 2009, Rossi and Lorenzo resumed hostilities with Rossi emerging as champion again. Over the course of the season, Rossi defeated Lorenzo in several tight battles - such as Assen, Sachsenring, Valencia and, most memorably, Lorenzo's home race in Catalunya. Both were battling hard on the Catalan circuit, with Lorenzo taking the lead on the final lap. Rossi tried to overtake him in the usual spots but failed, with many assuming Lorenzo was going to win the race. However, Rossi managed to pass him going into the final corner, where many assumed overtaking was impossible, to take an unlikely victory.
On 15 August 2010, after the Brno race, Rossi confirmed he was going to ride for the Ducati team, signing a two-year deal starting in 2011 and joining former Honda racing teammate Nicky Hayden. He tested the Desmosedici for the first time in Valencia on 9 November 2010, making this his first appearance since 1999 on an Italian motorcycle. Rossi underwent surgery on his shoulder which he injured during the 2010 season in order to be ready for pre-season testing in Malaysia. After initial progress during the first test, the Ducati failed to meet the team's expectations at the second Malaysian test and left Rossi unsatisfied, having finished over 1.8 seconds behind Casey Stoner's pace-setting Honda.
Rossi returned on the podium in Great Britain, leading for much of the race but ultimately having to concede the win to Dovizioso and second to Viñales with three laps to go. After the race at Silverstone, Rossi suffered another motocross crash in late August where he suffered displaced fractures of the tibia and fibula of his right leg. He suffered these injuries on the same leg that he previously broke in his high-speed crash at Mugello in 2010 and put him out of contention, requiring surgery and missing his "home race" in San Marino.
In 2010, Lorenzo finally emerged victorious in the championship battle after Rossi first injured his shoulder at a motocross accident two weeks before the 2010 Spanish race and then suffered a displaced compound fracture of his right tibia during a free practice fall at the 2010 Italian round, which caused him to miss four races. The most dramatic race of the season came at Motegi when Rossi fought hard with Lorenzo on the final laps of the race for third place, colliding with each other on more than one occasion. Rossi would win the battle, crossing the line in third.
In January 2010, Rossi has said that once he retires from motorcycle racing, he hopes to move into rallying. "There are not many changes in a man's body between 22 and 34 so I still have some time left. I would consider shifting to cars, probably rallying, after that before I finally decide to take it easy ... I know F1 would've been easier but by the time I finish MotoGP, I will be too old for F1." Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari's Formula One Team principal, however, reasserted his wish to have a third Ferrari on the F1 grid driven by Rossi, whilst confirming that Rossi would test an older Ferrari F1 car on 21 and 22 January 2010. At the aforementioned test at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Rossi once again drove a Ferrari F2008 on GP2 tyres, setting a best laptime within 0.1 seconds of Kimi Räikkönen's 2008 pole time.
In March 2010, the Italian minister Franco Frattini government awarded Rossi the first Winning Italy Award for the image he portrays of his country on an international level.
Rossi has gone through numerous helmet designs throughout his career, most featuring the Sun & Moon motif, signifying (according to Rossi) the two sides of his personality. His helmets are manufactured by AGV. Aldo Drudi was associated with Rossi's helmet graphics in 2010. Nearly every year, Rossi works with Aldo Drudi to design a unique helmet to use while racing at the Italian Grand Prix.
Their rivalry died down when Capirossi stopped consistently battling for podiums and eventually retired from MotoGP racing completely in 2011.
After Rossi moved to the Factory Ducati team and Stoner to the Factory Honda team in 2011, tensions would once again rise at the 2011 Spanish round when Rossi collided with Stoner, causing him to crash out of the race while Rossi got going again and finished fifth. After the race, Rossi went to Stoner to apologise for the incident, who smiled and accepted Rossi's handshake. However, Stoner told Rossi that "Your ambition outweighs your talent" during the brief exchange, in which he also asked about Rossi's shoulder. Stoner later apologised for this comment. After this, tensions between both riders would ease once more when Stoner won his 2011 World Championship title whilst Rossi struggled on an underperforming Ducati for the rest of the season.
After Rossi moved to the Factory Ducati team in 2011, Lorenzo stayed with the Factory Yamaha team and the rivalry cooled down when Rossi underperformed on the Ducati for two seasons while Lorenzo fought for the championship in both years, losing out to Stoner in 2011 but winning his second MotoGP title in 2012.
Rossi finished fifth in the championship with 208 points - his lowest position since his final season with Ducati in 2012 - 90 points behind champion Marc Márquez.
Rossi and Stoner's rivalry ended permanently when Stoner retired in 2012 and Rossi returned to the Factory Yamaha team in 2013.
On 10 August, it was confirmed that Rossi was going to leave the factory Ducati team at the end of the 2012 season. Later that day, it was also announced that Rossi were to rejoin the Yamaha factory team until the end of the 2014 season, resuming his partnership with Jorge Lorenzo. Rossi was reacquainted with the Yamaha when he tested the bike over 13–14 November 2012 at a post-season test at Valencia. However, rain prevented him from posting an accurate lap time until he tested the 2013 machine later on 5–7 February 2013 in Sepang, where he posted the third-fastest time of 2:00.542 out of 28 riders. He clocked 0.442 seconds off from pace-setter Dani Pedrosa and just 0.113 seconds off teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
On 29 June 2013 at the Dutch round, Rossi recorded his first MotoGP win since Malaysia in 2010 – a 46-race winless streak. He started from fourth on the grid but overtook the Honda of Dani Pedrosa for the lead on lap six, a lead he held to the line despite a late charge by the other Honda of Márquez, who crossed the line 2.170 seconds behind the Italian. After his first win of the season in Assen, Rossi continued to score good results by scoring two more podiums in the form of third places at the German and United States, in which Márquez overtook Rossi at the corkscrew corner in similar fashion to what Rossi did to Casey Stoner in 2008 to win the race.
After Rossi returned to Yamaha in 2013, the rivalry resumed, and came to a boiling point in 2015. Rossi was on course to win his tenth overall title but was narrowly ahead of his teammate Lorenzo, who had closed the gap after the summer break. Going into the penultimate round in Malaysia, Rossi and Márquez had a falling out, causing Márquez to fall and Rossi to resume, finishing third. This decision led to the race direction imposing three penalty points to Rossi and demoting him to the back of the grid at the final round in Valencia. This was crucial for Rossi's title chances because Lorenzo started on pole and won the race while he crossed the line in fourth place, handing the title to Lorenzo by just five points. Rossi accused both Márquez and Lorenzo, calling this title "a Spanish stitch-up" and that "Having Marc Márquez as the bodyguard of Lorenzo is embarrassing".
In more recent times, Rossi has been involved in an, at times, heated rivalry with Spanish rider Marc Márquez. Márquez moved up to the MotoGP category in 2013 and initially the two had a good relationship, with Márquez stating that Rossi had been his childhood idol and that it was a pleasure to battle with him. Their respect for each other took a turn during the 2015 season, starting with a late race collision whilst battling for the lead at the third round in Argentina. Márquez started from pole and created a gap at the opening stages of the race, but Rossi closed him down and a battle commenced. At turn 5, Márquez made contact with Rossi, which resulted in Márquez's bike hitting Rossi's rear tyre, causing him to fall. Márquez could not rejoin, and as a result, Rossi took his second win of the season. Both riders shrugged it off as a racing incident. A similar incident occurred at Assen several months later; Márquez lunged up the inside of Rossi at the final chicane on the final lap, Rossi picked the bike up and rode through the gravel, rejoined the track and won the race. Post-race Márquez seemed fairly unbothered by the incident, although his team did appeal the result.
In 2013, Rossi was given a special test of Kyle Busch's NASCAR Nationwide Series stock car at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina. Rossi achieved a top speed of 185 miles per hour, a speed which would have put him in the top fifteen of a Nationwide Series race.
A better result was achieved in the fourth round of the championship in Spain, where he chose to use an extra-hard rear tyre that allowed him to move up to second from fourth on the grid and overtake Márquez at the end of the back straight on the first lap. Both swapped places over the remainder of the first and second laps, but Márquez pulled away at the Dry Sack corner and Rossi had to settle for second place. Another second place came in France after Rossi ran wide halfway through the race, allowing Márquez to win. On 1 June 2014, Rossi appeared in his 300th Grand Prix race at the Italian round, where he finished in third. His fourth second place came at the Catalan GP, leading for much of the race but ultimately losing first place to Márquez at a late stage of the race. Lackluster performances followed at the Dutch and German rounds - fifth and fourth - until a string of third places followed at the Indianapolis, Czech and British races.
Rossi is the owner of the junior-class team Sky Racing Team by VR46, which debuted in the Moto3 category of Grand Prix motorcycle racing in 2014 with riders Romano Fenati and Francesco Bagnaia. In 2015, Andrea Migno replaced Bagnaia. The team also races in Moto2.
Compared to other rivals like Max Biaggi, Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Márquez, Viñales is a rather new rival to Rossi. Ever since he moved up to the MotoGP class in 2015, Viñales has had few interactions with Rossi, especially during his first two seasons with the Factory Suzuki team.
In November 2015, Milestone srl announced Valentino Rossi: The Game, to be released on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Before the 2016 season even began, Rossi announced that he will continue his career by keeping his contract with the Factory Yamaha team until 2018. Yamaha announced that Rossi will ride a 2016 YZR-M1 which also includes ECU Michelin tyres new to MotoGP and all riders. Expecting a difficult start to the season due to the new tyres, Rossi was able to adjust as he stated to the media at Sepang during the tests.
After this, the relationship between Rossi and Lorenzo became sour, though would ease once more when Lorenzo moved to the Factory Ducati team in 2017 whilst Rossi stayed with the team. In the two seasons with Ducati, Lorenzo frequently struggled on the Ducati compared to teammate Andrea Dovizioso whilst Rossi still enjoyed some wins and podiums.
However, when he moved from the Factory Suzuki to the Factory Yamaha team in 2017, the rivalry flared up immediately at the first two races of the season in both Qatar and Argentina, where Viñales won both races whilst Rossi finished third and second, respectively. The biggest moment of their rivalry came at the Le Mans in 2017 when Rossi and Viñales battled hard for the lead, coming into contact with each other a few times. On the last lap, Rossi crashed out of the race and Viñales went on to win the race. After the race, Rossi said he felt "cheated" by Viñales because he cut the chicane and lost less time while Rossi was trying to pull a gap, even though he was penalised for a similar incident two races ago at the Americas. Another big moment came at the Australian GP with Rossi battling Viñales for second place for most of the race, including the final lap.
At the pre-season tests, the 2020 Yamaha YZR-M1 had improved considerably compared to the 2019 counterpart. The new engine had fixed most of the deficit that the riders suffered from in 2018 and 2019 and the handling was improved as well thanks to an updated chassis. Both the Factory as well as the SIC satellite riders were happy with the feeling of this year's bike and Rossi said that the bike has "a very good feeling" but that he personally worries he'll struggle with the tyres after around five to six laps and is disappointed the Yamaha is still losing out to the competitors on the straights. He also commented that the updated Michelin tyres suit the bike, as well as his riding style, a lot more compared to last year.
In October 2019, Rossi announced he would be changing his crew chief. Silvano Galbusera, who has been Rossi's crew chief since 2014, will be replaced by David Muñoz for the 2020 season. The reason stated for this change was because of the poor results Rossi obtained during the 2019 season.
In December 2019, Rossi got the chance to swap rides with six-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, as part of a sponsor event. He completed several laps in a 2017 Mercedes AMG F1 W08 EQ Power+, while Hamilton rode a Yamaha YZR-M1, identical to the one Rossi rode in the 2019 MotoGP season. Press were locked out of the event, so laptimes weren't made public.
Later in the same week, Rossi competed in the 2019 Gulf 12 Hour at Yas Marina Circuit, behind the wheel of a Ferrari 488 GT3 ran by Kessel Racing. His co-drivers were his half-brother and Moto2 rider, Luca Marini, and Alessio Salucci. Rossi set the team's fastest laptime in qualifying, securing seventh place overall on the grid. Despite a shaky start with some lost positions, the team were in the lead of the Pro-Am class at the halfway point. A few technical issues in the Pro-class left the VR46 car in a battle for the final overall podium place with Spirit Race Team's Audi R8 LMS Evo. Rossi got into the car for the final stint and drove the car to an overall third place and a win in the Pro-Am class, despite picking up a five-second time penalty.
Rossi's future at the Factory Yamaha team was uncertain after the rather poor results he had obtained last year. His initial plan was to wait for a handful of races in 2020 to see how competitive he still is because he has not won a race since 2017 and because of his lackluster 2019 season. However, because of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent delay of the start of the season, Rossi did not get the five or six races he hoped for. The team asked him at the beginning of the year to make a decision regarding his future for reasons dictated by the riders' market, but ended the negotiations after his decision and chose Fabio Quartararo to line up with Viñales for the 2021 season. This has left Rossi with a vacant seat but Yamaha's Lin Jarvis has already said that the team wants to supply him with a full factory bike and support. In July 2020, Rossi said that he is "99% certain" he will ride for the SIC Racing Team even though no contract has been signed yet, and that he'll make the decision either in August or September 2020. Rossi has also said he wants to continue racing in 2021, but that both he and SIC team boss Razlan Razali had doubts after the poor weekend in Spain. However, after Rossi's podium at the second race in Andalucia, these doubts were put to rest.
On 15 October 2020, he tested positive for COVID-19, which forced him to miss the Aragon and Teruel GP's. Six members of the factory Yamaha team were quarantined as one member had already tested positive earlier in October 2020. Having recovered from COVID-19, Rossi raced at the European GP but retired, on November 12, Rossi tested positive for COVID-19 for a second time forcing him to miss the reminder of the season.
Rossi has a maternal half-brother, Luca Marini, who is currently racing in the 2020 Moto2 season for the Sky Racing Team by VR46.
Currently, Valentino Rossi is 42 years, 5 months and 16 days old. Valentino Rossi will celebrate 43rd birthday on a Wednesday 16th of February 2022.
Find out about Valentino Rossi birthday activities in timeline view here.