Valentino Rossi - 2009 MotoGP World Champion

Shell Advance Malaysian Grand Prix - Sunday 25 October

Photography Courtesy of motogp.com

After another season of drama on the track, Valentino Rossi defended his MotoGP World Championship with one round to spare in Malaysia, but he will quite possibly mark the title win as one of his toughest yet. Under concerted pressure throughout from his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo as well as the constant threat of Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, the man many believe to be the greatest motorcycle racer of all time once again rose above the rest to claim a ninth world crown (seventh in MotoGP).

Son of Graziano, celebrated rider of the seventies, the charismatic Rossi entered Grand Prix racing with Aprilia in 1996, winning 125cc races in his first season. He went on to win the 125 world title in 1997, and after a move up to 250s with the Italian brand, collected the quarter-litre title in 1999. He then made the leap to the 500cc class in 2000 with Honda, challenging for the title in his rookie year whilst picking up two victories and second in the championship.

He became only the second rider to win in all three GP classes when he won the last 500cc World Title in 2001 (as with his other titles, at the second attempt), and the following year he dominated once again in the first ever MotoGP four-stroke series onboard the Honda RC211V. He was just as untouchable in 2003, before accepting the biggest challenge of his career by leaving the Honda camp and taking a Yamaha ride for 2004.

His legend was sealed with the season that followed, on a bike which many believed would simply not be competitive enough. The historic year for Rossi began in the first race at Welkom, when he became the first rider ever to take consecutive victories for different factories, with a further eight wins sealing Yamaha's first title in over a decade. He has kept on winning for the transformed Japanese manufacturer, with an additional thirty-five triumphs since his maiden World Championship for Yamaha.

In 2005 he achieved eleven wins on the road to the title, following which much speculation linked him with a move out of the sport. Rossi announced that he would stay with MotoGP and Yamaha for at least another year at Mugello in 2006, but was further spurred on to continue in the sport by World Championship wins for rivals Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner.

He bounced back last season with another nine wins and the crown yet again, signing up to the end of next season with Fiat Yamaha. Now after a seventh MotoGP crown, Rossi has his sights set on Giacomo Agostini's record of eight premier class titles having already surpassed his record for all-time premier class victories.

If he were to match Ago in premier class titles he would challenge for the accolade of the greatest rider of all time. Another six wins in this year's campaign and hints he may well continue beyond 2010 suggest that Rossi might just be able to do so.

Personal Data
Date of birth: 16/02/79 (29 years)
Place of birth: Urbino (Italy)

Career Statistics
Season Category Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Total podiums Poles Bike Pts. Pos.
2009 MotoGP 16642127Yamaha2861
2008 MotoGP 18952162Yamaha3731
2007 MotoGP 1843184Yamaha2413
2006MotoGP 17541105Yamaha2472
2005MotoGP 171132165Yamaha3671
2004MotoGP 16920115Yamaha3041
2003MotoGP 16952169Honda3571
2002MotoGP 161140157Honda3551
2001500cc 161111134Honda3251
2000500cc16235100Honda2092
1999250cc16921125Aprilia3091
1998250cc1453190Aprilia2012
1997125cc151111134Aprilia3211
1996125cc1510121Aprilia1119
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