From a scooter to a Yamaha M1: Valentino Rossi’s dream MotoGP commute

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi arrives at Misano in fitting style with a fan-lined ride from his beloved hometown of Tavullia on his Yamaha YZF-M1

As much as we’d love to have a sea of flag-holding fans waving us off to work every morning, we can’t all be seven-time premier class World Champions like Valentino Rossi (though come back in a couple of years and we could be saying this about Marc Marquez too…)

Whilst Rossi’s success rates have waned in more recent years, his star (translation: brand) still shines very brightly for MotoGP, Yamaha and his VR46 side project, so it’s no surprise the tifosi come out onto the street in their droves to see ‘the Doctor’ on his annual rounds for the San Marino MotoGP event at Misano.

Indeed, though Mugello is the ‘home’ of the Italian MotoGP, Misano is undoubtedly Rossi’s first local love given the proximity of his hometown of Tavullia, located around 10km from the circuit.

Ahead of the 2019 San Marino MotoGP at Misano on the Adriatic coast, Rossi was given the chance to ‘go to work’ in style by riding the cobbles of Tavullia and onto the circuit aboard his Yamaha YZF-M1. Naturally, the fans were out in force…

A ‘dream come true’ for Italy’s sporting hero Valentino Rossi

Few sportsmen attract as much adulation as Rossi does and while his future remains relatively uncertain, no other rider could muster – or whip a – crowd like the 89-time 500GP/MotoGP winner.

“It’s great, it’s really like a dream come true," Rossi said. "When we were younger riding our 50cc scooters, we always dreamed of going through Tavullia on a MotoGP bike and today it came true.

"So, it was a fantastic moment, great emotions and I enjoyed it very much. The M1 on the road is good! I felt good, and in Tavullia in our centre there were a lot of people and fans, and I think they enjoyed it a lot too.

"This one is really my home grand prix, my home is 10km from here! I grew up here in Misano, the first time I rode a bike on a track was at Misano.

"This weekend we expect a lot of people, a lot of fans and a lot of yellow caps…so we’ll try to give the maximum to be strong and competitive!"

Carbon swingarm to spur Rossi on to Misano success?

Despite the emotional connection to Misano, Rossi has a relatively mixed racing record at his home venue since it was included on the MotoGP schedule in 2007. Recording three wins in 2008, 2009 and 2014, he was last on the podium there in 2016 with a run to second place.

Indeed, while Rossi can’t go one event without being reminded of his victory drought – Assen 2017 if you’re asking – the seeds of a good weekend have been sown by decent form by Yamaha in general, including a front row start for the Italian at Silverstone. 

This weekend is also set to see Rossi utilise a carbon swingarm for the first time after a successful trial during testing earlier this month, together with an exhaust update.

Even so, arguably satellite Petronas SRT rider Fabio Quartararo is considered the manufacturer’s best option based on his recent testing form, while the flat Misano circuit is likely to suit the M1 more than recent events.

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