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Motegi MotoGP: Valentino Rossi laughs off Ryanair tax advert

Published: 20 September 2007

Valentino Rossi has laughed off a new advertising campaign by budget airline Ryanair that features a reference to the Italian’s current multi-million pound tax investigation.

The advert was run in major Italian newspaper Il Messagero last Monday after Valentino Rossi's brilliant victory in the Estoril MotoGP.

The ad features a headshot of Valentino Rossi and underneath his portrait it reads: “Two million places, paying only the taxes.

There is also a speech bubble coming from the 28-year-old Italian’s mouth which says: “I can come back with Ryanair and I only have to pay the tax.”

Valentino Rossi was asked about the advert, which has apparently become the talk of Italy, at a news conference today on the eve of the Japanese MotoGP in the Twin Ring Motegi.

”I don’t see this. It’s a strange, strange idea because they don’t say nothing to me. Maybe they want to help us pay the fee. I think this is a good way for it," said Valentino Rossi in a hint that he is looking at taking legal action against the budget airlines.

 Valentino Rossi is currently embroiled in a tax investigation by Italian authorities. He is being investigated for possible tax evasion in a story that has divided Italy.

 He goes into Sunday’s 24-lap Japanese MotoGP in the Twin Ring Motegi knowing he must beat Casey Stoner to take the world championship battle to Phillip Island in Australia next month.