MotoGP: Rossi's new helmet paint job

Check out Valentino's birthday celebration paint scheme!

Birthday cake helmet for Valentino's 29th

FORMER WORLD Champion, Valentino Rossi, celebrated his 29th birthday at Jerez yesterday, by posting the eighth fastest time of the day, as well as donning a specially painted helmet for the occasion.

The seven-time World Champion was lapping consistently fastest on race tyres throughout morning session, although he eventually finished the day in eighth position, after several riders put in fast laps on qualifying tyres later in the session.

Rossi continued to make good progress with his set-up on Bridgestone race tyres, making the most of the day’s good weather to put in a total of 92 laps on his YZR-M1. The birthday boy’s best time of 1’40.641 was only a fraction off the existing lap record, which he set on his way to a memorable victory over Sete Gibernau in the 2005 race here. His team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who is riding on home soil for the first time since he officially joined the Fiat Yamaha Team in January, finished the day in third position with a time of 1’39.528, set on qualifying tyre on his 94th lap. Fastest man on track today was Nicky Hayden with a lap of 1’29.200.

Tomorrow sees the traditional televised forty-minute timed session taking place between 1405 and 1445 local time. With a high possibility of rain the event, which Rossi ‘won’ here last year, looks like being an eventful battle for pre-season honours.

Valentino Rossi: Position: 8th Time: 1'40.641 Laps: 92

“It’s good to be here on my birthday because I love to ride my bike and I had fun today. I had a special helmet with the design of a birthday cake on it, so this was my way to celebrate today! For the first day it’s not so bad at all, I feel good with the tyres and the balance and power of the engine is also okay. Of course we’re not at 100% and we need to improve in some areas, especially in the entry to the corner where we’re not yet at the maximum. We tried a new generation of Bridgestone qualifying tyre today, whilst tomorrow we will have the more standard tyre, which we were very fast with in Sepang, so I think we will be able to fight with the others in the ‘qualifying’ session. Overall we’ve made a very good start and I feel confident that we can continue to be even faster tomorrow.”