Against the odds, Rossi took Yamaha's mediocre M1 to MotoGP victory in 2004. He talks to Mackenzie about riding, winning and shoe shopping...
At the start of this year, some brave souls picked Rossi as their potential champ, with the one big question mark being the Yamaha M1. As history now states, Rossi did indeed win MotoGP at his first Yamaha attempt, in what will go down as one of the great team efforts ever. We show how the balance of MotoGP power was shifted, as Yamaha brought the mountain to their own new Mohammed.
Our man Niall Mac swept into the Valencia MotoGP with a mission in mind - cornering the King of Cornering, Valentino Rossi. Niall was, as ever, successful, as he lightly grilled the new champ on both the sunburst and moonshine sides of his character. So, over to Niall...
"I first met Valentino Rossi just over ten years ago at a mutual sponsor's barbecue near Imola. He was there with his father Graziano, who informed me that young Vale was doing OK racing mini bikes and hoped that one day he would ride a 125cc GP bike. I shook his hand and wished him luck, never thinking for a moment that the young enthusiast might turn out to be a GP winner. Sixty-eight victories and six world championships later I caught up with him in Valencia, after final qualifying.
Once again I found him polite, helpful and relaxed. Spookily he reminded me of my very own doctor..."
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CHILDHOOD MEMORY OF THE GP PADDOCK?I have some pictures of me with my father Graziano in the Imola paddock when I was a very small child in 1980. My first real memories are from the Italian GP at Mugello in 1993 when I was fourteen. I had paddock passes and it was like paradise.
DID YOU KNOW THEN YOU WANTED TO BE PART OF GPs?Yes, for sure. It was a big dream that one day I could become part of the paddock and be a Grand Prix rider.
IS THERE ANYONE THAT IMPRESSES VALENTINO ROSSI?Oh yes, for sure. I like many sports including football and I particularly like Ronaldo, so when it is possible I go to see him play.
In motor sport I am a big fan of the World Rally Championship and I think drivers like Colin (McRae) and Carlos Sainz are impressive. When I competed in the UK round of WRC a few years ago I met many of the drivers and it was there I realised how good they were.
IN YOUR OPINION WHICH IS MORE DIFFICULT, WRC OR F1?F1 is also incredible but in my opinion you have to work much harder in WRC. F1 is very like MotoGP, the tracks, the lines, the power and the braking is very similar. In WRC everything is continually changing and car control is much more difficult. For me it would be much more difficult to reach the top level in WRC.
Continue the Valentino Rossi Interview
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