Rossi turns 40 on the eve of Marquez’s 26th birthday
Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez both celebrated their birthdays this weekend: the dean of the MotoGP field entered his forties on Saturday 16 February, while the reigning world champion celebrated his 26th birthday on Sunday 17…
This time, that’s it: the 40 years mark, which some – jealous white-beaks certainly – say "fateful", has passed for Valentino Rossi! The nine-time world champion, born on February 16, 1979 in Urbino (Italy), is starting his 24th season (!) In Moto Grand Prix at the age when most riders are enjoying a deserved retirement….
- MNC special file :
Third in the 2018 championship without any victory – a first with the -, the fastest 40-year-old in the world knows he is entering the last part of his career, even if his contract with the Japanese manufacturer runs until the end of 2020. The Doctor will then be a few months away from his 42 years..
"As a MotoGP rider, I’m old and it bothers me," he admitted to our Italian colleagues at La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I would like to continue riding for many years to come, but I won’t," he urges while still relishing the extent of his footprint on motorcycle sport..
"This is the thing that makes me the most proud: to have made so many people passionate about motorcycling, to have made known to so many people the thing that I love to do the most," congratulates the Doctor. And it is clear that the still high proportion of "yellow caps" in the stands testifies to this fervor !
Since his debut in 1996, Valentino Rossi has forged an unparalleled track record (a title in 125, one in 250, one in 500 and 6 in MotoGP) as well as an extraordinary reputation: all bikers, whether fans or not of competition, know directly or indirectly n ° 46. Its fame extends even to people foreign to the world of two-wheelers.
The man with 115 Grand Prix victories (including 89 in the premier class) is the instigator – and the best representative – of the "star system" in motorcycle competition. His recipe? Of course, talent and memorable feats of arms, but also charisma to spare and unparalleled repartee in front of the cameras. Even if it means being brittle under cover of irony…
The dream of the 10th world title
The other admirable characteristic of him is his insatiable thirst for success: at 40, Rossi is still chasing victory and still dreams of winning a tenth world title. Lucid, the Genie des Alpages knows however that time is against him: his, goes back ten years already….
"I realize that ten or 15 years ago, I was the fastest on the track … Today, that is often not the case", admits Rossi frankly, aware of the inexorable surge of rivals sometimes 15 to 20 years younger (the French beginner is just 20!). "But I feel like if I work well and focus, I can be"…
The results speak for themselves: the Italian clinched up to 11 victories per season in the firmament of his career (, and). Jostled by Stoner and then Lorenzo, Rossi won his last two titles with nine wins in, then six in. Since then, his annual harvest has been one to two wins, with a final peak of four in …
Insufficient, in any case, to claim to wear a tenth world crown. Especially against a pilot of the caliber of Marc Marquez, who in turn reaches or exceeds ten victories per year: titled with nine successes in, the HRC prodigy even climbed to 13 (thirteen!) In !
"If I had been calmer in 2006, I would have won the title"
Again, Valentino Rossi does not hide his face and admits half-heartedly that the best opportunities for the title have probably passed. Especially since its M1 is no longer the benchmark it was … On the contrary: the Ducati and Honda have taken the lead in terms of power and electronics, while the Suzuki have become threatening.
Hence the expression of regret for two key episodes of his career: the first when he saw the late Nicky Hayden winning the title. The second in, when his setbacks with Marquez in Malaysia brought him down to last place in the Spanish final, paving the way for his teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
- MNC retrospective :
- MNC retrospective :
"The tenth title is a dream that I still believe a lot, but it’s also a big regret because I have already earned it," said Rossi. "I lost two in the last race of the season and I was also full of times vice-world champion (in 2000,,, and, Editor’s note). In the end, my career deserved ten: it is also for this reason that I try again! "
"There have been so many things I wonder about to try to understand if I made a mistake or not. Go to Ducati for example (in and, Editor’s note), but also to Yamaha instead of continuing to win with the Honda (end, editor’s note). But the real mistake is that of 2006 because I could win. If I had been calmer and hadn’t crashed, I would have won the title ".
"I would like to ride a motorcycle for a few more years"
Regrets or not, Valentino Rossi properly celebrated his 40th birthday with his family and sweetheart in the cellars of a restaurant in Pesaro (Italy). Several representatives of the VR46 Academy were also on hand to see him blow on a huge cake in the shape of the layout of his dirt track at the Ranch..
His half-brother Luca Marini, a Moto2 rider, was also among the 70 guests, he who recently mentioned the possibility of racing against his elder brother in MotoGP: "It would be good to be on the same starting grid, but I am for the moment focused on my career ", he explains before launching, laughing, thinking of suggesting to the Doctor to" ride until 46 " !
The person concerned does not look so far ahead: "I would like to ride a few more years on a motorcycle and then do some serious driving," predicts the Doctor, who has never hidden his passion for rallying. He would also think of other four-wheeled disciplines, such as endurance or – why not – the Dakar….
And then ? "Become a father and start a family", answers the n ° 46 who seems sufficiently attached to his young companion of 25 years to consider the joys of fatherhood in her company. "We’ve been together for a year now and it’s going well," he assures us..
26 candles for champion Marc Marquez !
By an amusing coincidence, Marc Marquez celebrates his birthday the day after that of the Doctor: the reigning world champion, born February 17, 1993 in Cervera (Spain), celebrated his 26th birthday on Sunday, 14 less than his "old man. "mate Rossi. Despite their dispute, the Honda official hails the longevity of his rival: "It’s amazing and of course I would like to be that way at 40".
"You can ride at 40 if you keep the motivation and the passion for motorcycling," Marquez continues, handing out a final compliment to his opponent. "But it’s another thing to always be motivated enough to remain one of the favorites for the title.".
Remember that Marc Marquez is the youngest driver crowned in the premier class (20 years and 266 days) and also the youngest holder of five titles in the premier class (25 years and 246 days). Since his arrival in MotoGP in 2013, the Spaniard has crowned all the crowns with the exception of 2015 which went to his new teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
This same Lorenzo – 32 years old – also wishes him an excellent birthday via social networks: nice, no, the Mallorcan? Except that in reality, the post of n ° 99 is a roundabout way of displaying his intentions to steal the show from Marquez as soon as possible within the official Honda team. !
"Happy 26th birthday Marc Marquez! I hope that we will be able to continue to bring great success to the HRC!", Warns the defector Ducati, taking care to include himself in these prospects of success. Good war, obviously, but the tone is set !
Finally, MNC – which turns 20 this year – also wishes to send a happy birthday to Alessandra Stoner, who celebrated her 7th birthday on February 16 … the day Valentino Rossi blew out his 40 candles. Decidedly, what a busy period !
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