Who doesn’t like the sound of freedom? Now, you might ask, does freedom have a sound? Well, it may actually carry music to the one who can ride the wind. But chances are, if you are a certain Valentino Rossi, you may not only be riding the wind but orchestrating some music courtesy a different kind of mean machine.
In an age where celebrity-hood commands more attention over motherhood and where popular culture is increasingly producing idols every day, often thanks to the enervating silence of Lana Del Rey or through the commanding brilliance of Adele, Florence and the Machine and their likes aren’t the only ones producing ‘music’. Never seen on the stage but commanding the aura on that thing called the podium, MotoGP world’s lord Valentino Rossi’s Yamaha superbike is the ideal weapon of choice.
Making music from the mean-machine
One of the greatest athletes of all time, the Urbino born Italian may not have anything to do with the guitar. But he is a master of distortion, one coming straight from the deafening symphony of his Yamaha 2016 YZR-M1. And, at 37, after holding the mightier end of the sword in exciting MotoGP rivalries where he slammed Max Biaggi, dominated Australian Casey Stoner and is holding on to his own in a near perfect battle with Yamaha teammate, George Lorenzo, the lad’s hunger to win at the highest level of Motorcycle racing is second to none.
Legends there are many but few become the marvels of the sport. In an era that fancies instant gratification over lasting genius, Valentino Rossi’s checkered exploits have earned the superlative world of MotoGP some commanding memories and the man himself, ‘unputdownable’ fame and star power.
Young at 37 and going strong
In his late 30s and well beyond those blazing years of youth, the man who was born in the same year as his father’s maiden victory in the 250 cc category at Yugoslavia (1979) is fast, furious and not done yet. Many would say that Rossi doesn’t have the ethereal touch of class that the youngster in his 20s demonstrated. After all, he was just 22 when he clinched his first 500 cc title. But you would take the athletic and agile built Valentino easy at your own peril.
Many have tried and bit the gold in contesting with the man who perhaps best befits the character of a freak genius walking on two legs whilst off the radar of the superbike which is his constant shadow.
But a question needs to be asked. Just how does one take the mind of from statistics that the man who is set to begin his 20th season in the Grand Prix paddock? Rossi, who stood tall second on the driver’s title last year, only behind Spanish triple world champion Lorenzo scored 325 went 30 better than the 295 he collected from 2014 MotoGP World Championship.
The speedster at Jerez (Spain), the ruler of Silverstone (Britain) ensures that the paddock rises to elation and an unstoppable thrust of adrenaline pumping whenever you just hear his name.
The winner of MotoGP races at 27 different circuits has collected the most number of wins from Catalunya and Mugello, 9 each. Having won 9 world championships, Valentino Rossi has already promised to give fans yet another scorcher of an year ahead as MotoGP enters the 2016 season, another year when perhaps for the third successive time, all eyes will be on the steely resolve of Spanish warlord George Lorenzo and the doggedly determined Valentino Rossi.
While he may not be regarded as the best current MotoGP rider, Rossi’s staggering stint in the echelon of the world of motorcycle racing, ever since 1996, has seen the Italian collect victories on not one but six different types of bikes: 125 cc Aprilia, 250 cc Aprilia, 500 cc Honda, 990cc Honda, 990 cc Yamaha and 800 cc Yamaha.
Yes says Yamaha
Renowned for his focus and resolve to mentally downsize his opposition with whom he locks horns in a contest of pure skill and unparalleled finesse, Rossi’s nasty overtaking maneuvers and unbelievable mastery at counter-steering and sharp handling at tight, high speed corners put him in the same league as the late-great Barry Sheene.
The 37 year old who celebrated his birthday only just is also a man of few words. While the star endured perhaps the most challenging phase of his career from 2011-14, a period that saw the rise of younger talents, several years younger than the light eyed good looker, Rossi’s move from Ducati following morale crushing 2011 and 2012 seasons, where he could manage only 7th and 6th place finish have only done the Italian good.
At home at Yamaha, the tough-talking multiple winner of MotoGP is now on his way to threaten the chances of Lorenzo, a man regarded as the next baron in the pinnacle in the world of motorcycle racing.
Out of his 74 victories in the premier-class of grand prix racing, 41 have come for current team, Yamaha. This is a feat that makes Rossi the Schumacher of the world of MotoGP and dare one say, Schumacher, the former 7 time Formula One world champion, the Rossi of motor racing.
The hunger and drive of the indomitable Italian
But, as far as racing and being competitive on wheels is concerned, then it isn’t too surprising to know that Rossi even tried his hand at driving the 2006 Ferrari Formula One car.
The first day disappointment of the F1 Ferrari test found bitter disappointment as Valentino found his way off the tarmac into the gravel. But on the second day, he emerged 9th fastest of the 15 drivers, lapping much quicker than the experienced Webber(ex- Red Bull, now Porsche Le Mans), Coulthard and others.
A friend to his friends and a daredevil who possesses the wry smile, Valentino Rossi’s reach is toward the skies, the journey of greatness taking the courageous toward the zigzagging nastiness of world’s most thrilling racing circuits.
He may not be crowned the world champion again, but the man who hasn’t missed a single grand prix race since 1996 may be just as eager to dominate headlines as he was when his autobiography hit the market when he was merely 27.