Valentino Rossi and Riders for Health - The Doctor is in

Valentino Rossi and riders for health help bring medicine to millions

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Kinney Jones

A standard 2009 Yamaha YZF-R1 makes 146.3 horsepower at 11,500 rpm. Thanks to 1972 Daytona 200 winner Don Emde, Valentino Rossi, Aldo Drudi, Yamaha and an outpouring of generosity from some top-shelf aftermarket suppliers, this one has enough power to change the world. It all started when Emde decided Riders for Health-the official charity of MotoGP-could use some help. These riders (www.riders.org) bring essential medical resources to millions of people in isolated areas of Africa. They do it with 1284 motorcycles, good people and a brilliant system that keeps those motorcycles running. All of that costs money, which is why Emde founded Friends of Riders for Health, Inc. to further the cause in America.

After Yamaha Motor Corp. USA donated the R1, the next call went to Rossi. Vale was all in, as long as Drudi himself translated the graphics from his Five Continents AGV helmet to the R1's bodywork. From there, Emde says, the best thing about his new organization's first project was that nobody said no. Akrapovic sent an Evolution exhaust and Öhlins donated a FGRT808 fork and TTX shock. Roland Sands said yes with a set of Ronin wheels and an Assault triple clamp, Bridgestone sent BT-003 tires. EBC pads and rotors slow the beast with some help from Goodridge lines, and that's just scratching the surface. Yamaha even threw in a set of stock bodywork just in case the eventual owner would like to save the priceless skin for special occasions. (Check out the full list at www.motorcyclistonline.com.) Though fully street-legal, the R1 will be delivered in track-day trim-a day at the Yamaha Champions School is part of the deal. Interested? The bike will be auctioned off later this year, with proceeds going to Riders for Health. Visit www.friendsofriders.org to find out when and where.

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