Valentino Rossi, born in Urbino, Le Marche on 16th February 1979, is one of the most successful motor cycle riders of all time, having won a total of 9 Grand Prix World Championships. He has won a record total of 80 500cc/MotoGP races, and a total of 106 races overall, placing him second to fellow Italian Giacomo Agostini who has won 122.
Valentino Rossi, Qatar, 2010
His first love was karting, which he started at a very young age, winning the regional kart championships at the age of 11.
Rossi started riding motorcycles with Aprilia in 1994 and continued riding for them until 1999, when he won the 250cc world championship title.
Two of Rossi's Aprilia bikes - Photo: Mstangel
In 2000, Rossi moved to Honda and 500cc motorbikes, at that time the ultimate in motorcycle racing. He won the World Championship in 2001, which was to be the last year that 500cc motorbikes were used.
In 2002, the new 900cc MotoGP superbikes were introduced and Rossi won 11 races to claim the World Championship with Honda, a success he repeated in 2003.
Rossi racing his Honda RC211V MotoGP bike
Photo: Andy Northcott
In 2004, Rossi moved to rival maufacturer Yamaha, where he became the first rider to win consecutive races with different manufacturers. He continued to win World Championships until 2005, when he won his seventh World Championship and his fifth consecutive MotoGP Championship.
Racing for Yamaha - Photo: m.caimary
2006 and 2007 were not successful years for Rossi, but he returned to championship form in 2008 with the new 800cc MotoGP motorbike. His win at the 2009 Dutch TT was his 100th victory, making him only the second rider in motorcycle grand prix history to reach that landmark after Agostini.
2010 was also an unsuccessful year for Rossi. Following a shoulder injury, he crashed at 120 mph on his home circuit of Mugello, sustaining injuries that were thought would keep him out of competition for the whole season. However, he surprised everyone by returning earlier and finished the season in third place.
In 2011 Rossi signed to Ducati where he stayed for two years, both unsuccessful.
Racing for Ducati, 2011 - Photo: Yavein
In 2013 he returned to Yamaha but has yet to regain his previously successful form.