Valentino Rossi - 2008 MotoGP World Champion

A-Style Grand Prix of Japan - Sunday 28th September 2008

MotoGP

Valentino Rossi, conqueror of the 125cc, 250cc and 500cc/MotoGP World Championships in his second season in each class, became only the second rider in the history of motorcycling to lift all three titles. He is now the only man to win the premier class MotoGP World Championship with 500cc, 990cc and 800cc machinery, returning this year to the pinnacle after two seasons away. Rossi's natural skill, charisma and flair has already made him a huge fans' favourite and at just 29 years of age, he is already one of the sport's true greats.

With his victory at Motegi sealing a sixth MotoGP title, Rossi moved one step closer to legendary status in a season already notable for his record-breaking performances. At Indianapolis, the Fiat Yamaha rider took the record for all-time premier class victories from Giacomo Agostini, incidentally the only other rider to have regained the title after two years away, with a 69th triumph, followed by a 70th today.

Son of Graziano, celebrated rider of the seventies, the charismatic Italian 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 a move up to the premier 500cc class in 2000 with Honda, challenging for the title in the first season whilst picking up two victories and second in the championship.

After winning the last 500cc World Championship in 2001, the following year he dominated once again in the first ever MotoGP four-stroke series onboard the Honda RC211V. He was just as untouchable the following season, before accepting the biggest challenge of his career by leaving the Honda camp and taking a Yamaha ride for 2004.

An 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 Japanese manufacturer, with an additional twenty-eight triumphs (eight of which have come this season) since his maiden World Championship for Yamaha.

In 2005 he added to his previous triumphs, again achieving nine wins on the road to the title, his second with the Yamaha team. Linked with a move to four wheels, Rossi announced that he would stay with Yamaha for another year at Mugello in 2006, and was further spurred on by World Championship wins for rivals Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner. Signed up for the next two seasons with Fiat Yamaha, Rossi now has his sights set on Agostini's record of eight premier class titles and the accolade of the greatest rider of all time.

MotoGP Career Statistics

Some facts about Rossi's achievement

The 800cc Yamaha is the fourth different motorcycle on which Rossi has won the premier-class title, having already taken the title on a Honda 4-cylinder 2-stroke, Honda 990cc 5-cylinder 4-stroke and a Yamaha 990cc 4-cylinder 4-stroke.

On his way to winning the title this year Valentino Rossi has taken Giacomo Agostini's record for most premier-class victories; a record that has stood since Agostini took his 68th and final victory at the West German Grand Prix in 1976 at the Nurburgring riding the legendary MV Agusta machine.

He is only the second rider to regain the premier-class title after a two year gap - the other rider to do this was Giacomo Agostini.

It is Rossi's sixth premier-class title - one more than Mick Doohan. Only Giacomo Agostini with eight titles will have won the premier-class championship on more occasions.

It is Rossi's eight world title across all GP classes. Only Giacomo Agostini with 15, Angel Nieto with 13, Mike Hailwood and Carlo Ubbiali with 9 titles each have won more world championships.

There is an eleven-year period spanning the time from Rossi's first world title in the 125cc class in 1997 and this year. The only rider with a longer period between first and last world titles is Angel Nieto who won his first title in the 50cc class in 1969 and his last in the 125cc class in 1984.

**Personal Data***

Date of birth: 16/02/79 (29 years)
Place of birth: Urbino (Italy)
First Grand Prix: RSA - 2000
First Pole Position: RSA - 2001
First Podium: SPA - 2000 (3rd place)
First GP Victory: GBR - 2000
Grand Prix Starts: 207
Grand Prix Victories: 96 (70 in MotoGP)
Podiums: 148 (112 in MotoGP)
Pole Positions: 51 (41 in MotoGP)
Race Fastest Laps: 76 (56 in MotoGP)
World Championship Wins: 6 - MotoGP 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001
1 - 250cc 1999
1 - 125cc 1997
2008 Total Points: 312

*data correct at 28/09/2008
(A-Style Grand Prix of Japan)