1996 – 125cc Czech Republic: first world victory
At the age of 17, Valentino Rossi (Aprilia) inscribed his name for the first time on the winner’s trophy of a round of the world championship, in the 125cc category. In the wake of a first podium in Austria (3rd), the young Italian biker shines during the eleventh meeting, August 18, 1996 in the Czech Republic, celebrating his first pole position and his first victory in beating with unstoppable braking the experienced Spaniard Jorge “Aspar” Martinez (Aprilia), 33 years old. A year later, the Brno circuit served as a setting for him to conquer his first world title.
2000 – 500cc Great Britain: first success among the big boys
Crowned 250cc world champion with Aprilia in 1999, Valentino Rossi joined the ranks of the higher category than the handlebars of a factory Honda. In the first part of the season, the 21-year-old transalpine rookie climbed the third step of the podium three times. It was during the ninth round, on the English track at Donington Park, that he experienced the joy of a first success, under pressure, winning for less than four tenths of a second against the American Kenny Roberts Jr (Suzuki), the future champion.
2001 – 500cc Australia: final bouquet against Biaggi
On the occasion of his second season in the premier class, the native of Urbino impresses by winning the trifle of 11 wins in 16 races. In Australia, he faced his compatriot Max Biaggi (Yamaha), one of his biggest rivals on the track, in an intense showdown that he won, overrun with the key, for only 13 thousandths of a second. Titled with panache on the Phillip Island circuit, number 46 has the honor of being the last world champion of the 500cc era, before inaugurating the MotoGP winners the following year.
2003 – MotoGP Australia: stronger than a penalty
Few pilots have the ability to win a speed test despite a ten second penalty. This is however what Valentino Rossi accomplishes in Australia, after being penalized for overtaking his compatriot Marco Melandri (Yamaha) for the gain of third place, under the yellow flag regime. At the cost of an impressive pace, Tavullia’s prodigy finally manages to win solo, with more than fifteen seconds of margin on another Italian, Loris Capirossi (Ducati), thus surpassing the handicap of his penalty.
2004 – MotoGP South Africa: winning challenge from Honda to Yamaha
Never had a pilot in the premier class succeeded in signing two straight victories riding two different machines. Straddling two seasons, the number 46 offers himself this first by triumphing with Honda at the last meeting of 2003 in Valence, before doing the same at the opening of the following year on the south ground. African, in Welkom, riding a Yamaha really not a favorite on paper. Illustrating its adaptability, “Vale” pays for the luxury of winning in front of a Honda quartet, starting with that of his “best enemy” Max Biaggi.
2005 – MotoGP Spain: strong overtaking on Gibernau
As the curtain rises for the season in Jerez, the Spanish public attends a high-end performance by his protégé Sete Gibernau (Honda), quicker at the start than poleman Valentino Rossi. But the Italian will show character by coming back on his rival, giving rise to a succession of beautiful overtaking at the end of the race. And in the final left turn, the Doctor operates a muscular maneuver by diving inside into side-to-side contact, a controversial overtaking but deemed correct, symbol of this victory bearing the seal of determination.
2005 – MotoGP Great Britain: master of the rain
The best riders tend to show up on wet ground, especially on two-wheelers where balancing skills are increased tenfold. Under the typical flood at Donington, Valentino Rossi made up for his timid start from pole with a insolent ease in the middle of puddles, while his rivals fall one by one. On the handlebars of his Yamaha, the Italian tightrope walker demonstrates all the amplitude of his talent during 29 laps, in particular at the option of a incredible “rescue” of the rear axle when exiting a right turn, carrying him to victory over American Kenny Roberts Jr.
2006 – MotoGP Germany: fantastic comeback
Only eleventh on the starting grid, the Doctor knows he must embark on a major operation to consider a place on the podium. At the cost of impressive first laps on the fast German Sachsenring route, he quickly gets back to the leading pack allowing him to take control at the halfway point. Going to the end of his effort, Valentino Rossi narrowly wins in front of the Honda of his compatriot Marco Melandri and the American Nicky Hayden, crowned world champion at the end of the year, thus ending the series of four titles of Italian.
2007 – MotoGP Netherlands: from 11th to 1st, bis repetita
Like the German Grand Prix a year earlier, Valentino Rossi was not favored by the predictions at the start in Assen, from the eleventh position on the starting grid. However, on the handlebars of his Yamaha with its very colorful livery, he also shows a spectacular comeback allowing him to cross the iron with the strongman of the moment, Casey Stoner (Ducati). Thanks to a overtaking winning within four laps the checkered flag, the native of Urbino wins, a victory having no impact on the future title won hands down by his Australian rival.
2008 – MotoGP United States: Stoner cracks under his pressure
Arriving on the very hilly Laguna Seca route in California, “Vale” wears the costume ofoutsider against reigning world champion Casey Stoner, who is riding a wave of three consecutive successes. The Australian started from pole position ahead of the Italian and the two drivers entered a memorable showdown by exchanging leadership several times. Under the pressure of this hot duel, the Ducati rider left with eight laps to go, leaving his rival transalpine rushing to victory and reclaiming the crown, his eighth overall.
2009 – MotoGP Catalonia: overtaking in the last corner
In the context of a high intensity internal confrontation, two Yamaha go hand in hand on the Barcelona circuit, 13 thousandths of a second separating the poleman Jorge Lorenzo, playing in front of his home crowd, his teammate Valentino Rossi. As in qualifying, the mano a mano is masterful in the race and the young Spaniard thinks he has the last word, until the approach of the last corner. The Doctor surprises him with a surgical overtaking from the inside and will pluck the victory for less than a tenth of a second, leading him to his ninth and final World Championship title.
2013 – MotoGP Netherlands: start of the last act
Coming out of two seasons without the slightest success riding the Ducati Desmosedici, Valentino Rossi gets back in the saddle in the first year of his return to Yamaha. In Assen, on a circuit which has often succeeded him, the number 46 regains the first step of the podium by winning in front of the Honda of the Spaniards Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez. In 2017, it is also on the Dutch track that he will sign the very last victory of his career., the 89th in the premier class, the 115th overall in the world championship.
Photos : Icon Sport
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