09 June 2014 16:09
He’s been an inspiration to practically every biker on the planet and last Sunday at Mugello, Valentino Rossi continued to show that he is truly one of a kind. His 300th race wasn’t his best but it marked a milestone of almost unparalleled success that few of his peers will ever come close to matching.
Valentino Rossi might not have won his 300th GP in Mugello, but thousands of his yellow-clad worshippers could not have cared any less on Sunday. Rossi was treated like the returning messiah after scoring his first Mugello rostrum since 2009, and his fans celebrated like he had been the victor and not Marc Marquez.
MCN takes a look at the stats from the 35-year-old’s incredible career and talks to some past legends and old and current rivals about his phenomenal career.
Rossi In Numbers
- 02 - Rossi and Agostini are the only riders to have won premier class titles on two and four-stroke machinery.
- 27 - Rossi has won races on 27 tracks out of the 36 he’s raced on, which is more than any other rider.
- 80 - His race victories in MotoGP are more than any other rider.
- 155 - Rossi is the only rider in history to reach 150 premier class podiums.
- 106 - Only Giacomo Agostini (122) has won more races than Rossi’s 106.
GIACOMO AGOSTINI | Italian legend
“To reach 300 races means Valentino loves racing and he loves motorcycles. It’s important what is inside your head because if you love your job then mentally it is easy to do more. Valentino has shown this year he is very close to Marquez and has a chance to win races. It is a surprise for everybody because after Ducati he had one year with Yamaha but not a very good one and everyone thought he was finished. Maybe not completely finished, but not as good as before. It is an amazing achievement.”
CAL CRUTCHLOW | Current rival
“I hope I am still here after 300 races and battling for podiums like he is. We know how good he is and to be challenging at the front at his age is incredible. To find the motivation and still be adapting his riding style like he does is hard to believe. He is still learning in his 300th GP and he is riding stronger than last year and his style has changed. He is still adapting, and doing it a lot better than the other riders.”
ALEX CRIVILLE | MotoGP rival
“The most incredible thing is after some difficult years at Ducati, he came back in great form and he is showing he can still fight with the young guys. He deserves a lot of credit because to do what he is doing at 35 is amazing. Normally before this age you are thinking about retirement and he wants to continue for another two years! The people love him even if he is not winning and that doesn’t happen to many people.”
ANGEL NIETO | Spanish legend
“I would like him to make 500 because he is a guy that loves bikes! I like that he never gives up and he has shown this year he is going more on the limit than ever because he wants to try and win races again. The title is difficult with Marquez but you have to take your hat off because after all his wins and all he has done in the motorcycling world, that he is still has this hunger is something incredible.”
BRADLEY SMITH | Current rival
“I was five when he first started in GPs! The most amazing thing is how long he has been at the top. To be so competitive for almost 20 years and keep finding the hunger and motivation is genius. I don’t think I could go for 20 years or motivate myself to put in the time and take the risks to do 300 races. He came back from the Ducati years, too, when it would have been easy to walk away and say: ‘I’ve had a good career.’ But he wanted to come back and prove to everybody again what he can do.”
NICKY HAYDEN | Honda and Ducati team-mate
“When I was at Ducati with him, my respect level went up because people thought he wasn’t trying while he was in a difficult moment but nothing could be further from the truth. He doesn’t know how to quit. His passion isn’t just for MotoGP - he loves motorcycles and that’s what kept him at the top for so long. It takes a lot of love and passion for something to keep doing it like he has and for him I don’t think it has ever been just a job.”
LORIS CAPIROSSI | 250 and MotoGP rival
“It is really cool for Valentino to be back at the top. The only problem in his way is Marquez because he is younger and faster. But
Valentino always gives 100% to beat him, even after nearly 20 years in the sport. He has the hunger and motivation like he did when he was 16 and his dream is to beat the young riders. But I think when the talent is as high Valentino’s you never lose it, even with age.”
COLIN EDWARDS | Yamaha team-mate
“Has Valentino seriously been in GPs since 1996? S**t. I started in World Superbike back in 1995 and I thought he started way behind me. It is crazy how long he has been at the top but I don’t know what else I can say about him. He’s quite simply a legend and it is amazing to see him still out there hassling the young guy and wanting to kick his ass. He is just one guy who hates to lose because he always expected to win. He’s just been amazing, inspirational, even after it all went wrong during his time at Ducati, he didn’t just jack it in and quit. It is seriously impressive that he’s been around for 300 GPs.”
DAVIDE BRIVIO | Former Yamaha GP team boss “
It is amazing how he is motivated still after 300 races. Sometimes it looks like he never won a race and he’s still desperate to get that first win. This is a good example for people in all sports. It is more difficult at 35 but he is in good physical condition and his mind is much younger than he is.”