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  • The Truth about Italy's Speedster Valentino Rossi
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    MAY 22, 2005 - The MotoGP world championship is a series of 16 motorcycle races that are the pinnacle of the sport. And all of the MotoGP riders have been eating Italian Valentino Rossi's dust lately. Last Sunday he came back from behind with seven laps to go to win the Le Mans Grand Prix Alice De France. Born in Urbino, Italy on February 15, 1979, Rossi has a long future ahead of him in the sport. Here are some fun facts about Italy's fastest friend:

    He is the champion. Number 46 for Gauloises Yamaha, he arrived on the scene in 1996 and by 2001 had conquered the 125, 250 and 500 World Championships, making him the second rider in motorcycling history to lift all three titles.

    A jet setter. Although he's an Italian by birth, Rossi lives in London.

    Money matters. Rossi's wrists should be insured at $16 million, according to market research recently reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

    Star quality. He's among those featured in Faster, a recent documentary narrated by Ewan McGregor that takes audiences into the heart of racing. Rossi is joined by fellow riders Max Biaggi, Garry McCoy and John Hopkins in the film.

    Fight night. Fellow Italian Biaggi is Rossi's arch rival. Once the darling of the motorcycling world and all of Italy, Biaggi now lives in Rossi's shadow. "Biaggi cannot win the war. Battles can be won, but winning public adoration and support can be a long, arduous and often fickle campaign," according to an article about the rivalry on "With his gaudy cache of five titles, Rossi is being compared to Mike Hailwood and Giacomo Agostini as the best ever. Biaggi may beat him once or twice, but it would take a lot for the tide to swing back." At least, the fans can indulge in the drama on the race tracks.

    Globe trotter. There are 1,770,000 results when you search "Valentino Rossi" on the Google search engine. Mostly unofficial fan sites - based everywhere from Japan to Italy - lead the pack. Really, he's got the whole world in his hands. The forums on the official Rossi fan club site are in 11 different languages.

    If this article has inspired you to check out the MotoGP championship, you can start with some of the upcoming races. Future competitions include Mugello Gran Premio Alice D'Italia on June 5 and Laguna Seca Redbull U.S. Grand Prix on July 10.


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