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By Mat Oxley
Valentino Rossi’s announcement of retirement brings down the curtain on an incredible career in the MotoGP motorcycle world championships. With his nine titles, including seven in the premier class, he is widely regarded as the greatest motorcycle racer of all time, and his 26 seasons of Grand Prix racing make him unique across both motorcycling and Formula 1. Rossi has been captivating fans since he won his first Grand Prix at the age of 17 and even in his final season, at the age of 42, he has been riding faster than ever. In this major new book by top MotoGP journalist Mat Oxley, each and every one of these races comes under the microscope, complete with perspectives about Rossi’s achievements, the controversies, his character, and analysis of his bikes. This is a Valentino Rossi book like no other.
Early days, from karting and minimoto bikes to a first GP win, on a 125 Aprilia in the 1996 Czech GP, then onwards to claim the 125cc world title in 1997.
Moving up to the 250cc class in 1998 brought four consecutive end-of-season wins riding for Aprilia, followed by a decisive title in 1999 with nine victories.
Grabbed by Honda to race its super-successful NSR500, Rossi graduated to the ‘class of kings’ for 2000, almost becoming champion that season — but the following year he sealed the last two-stroke 500cc crown with 11 wins.
MotoGP, for 990cc four-stroke bikes, took over and Rossi immediately reigned supreme aboard his Honda RC211V, securing back-to-back titles in 2002 and 2003, before a surprise departure to uncompetitive Yamaha.
Rossi rates his first year with Yamaha, 2004, as his best: defying expectation, he won first time out on the YZR-M1 and took a fourth successive title with nine wins.
In six more seasons with Yamaha, 2005–10, Rossi collected three more championship crowns, his 2008 success especially sweet because it involved a fightback after two leaner years.
Rossi’s move to Ducati looked to be an appetising all-Italian prospect but his two winless seasons there, 2011 and 2012, were disastrous.
A return to Yamaha never quite recaptured his greatest glories, but Rossi was championship runner-up three times and came very close to another title in 2015.
- Publication January 2022
- ISBN: 978-1-910505-21-2
- Format: 272x228mm hardback
- Page extent: 336pp
- Illustration: 280 photos
As a motorcycle racer, Mat Oxley is an Isle of Man TT winner and lap record holder. As a writer, he has been plying his craft for 40 years and is revered for his sharp reporting of MotoGP for magazines and websites around the world, including Bike, Motor Sport, Motorcycle News and Performance Bikes. Ever since Rossi burst into Grand Prix racing in 1996, Oxley has followed his career closely and in 2001 wrote a landmark first biography, MotoGenius, with full cooperation from Valentino and his family. Among Oxley’s other acclaimed books are Mick Doohan: Thunder from Down Under (1999), Valentino Rossi: Portrait of a Speed God (2002) and Stealing Speed (2009). Married with two children, he lives in north London.
“Charts Rossi’s career in superb detail.”
“A brilliant tribute… a book with a wow-factor… masterful… sublime photographic work… a kind of Guinness Book of Records.”
“Great insight… a must-have.”