Valentino Rossi
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Valentino Rossi

 
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  Valentino Rossi (born February 16, 1979) is an Italian professional motorcycle racer and multiple MotoGP World Champion. He is widely considered one of the best motorcycle racers of all time, with 9 World Championships, narrowly missing an 8th one in 2006. According to Sports Illustrated, Rossi is the 2nd best-compensated athlete in the world, earning an estimated $35 million a year.

Following his father, Graziano Rossi, Rossi started racing in Grand Prix in 1996 for Aprilia in the 125cc category and won his first World Championship the following year. From there, he moved up to the 250cc category, again with Aprilia, and won the World Championship in 1999. He won the 500cc World Championship with Honda in 2001, the MotoGP World Championships (also with Honda) in 2002 and 2003, and continued his streak of back-to-back championships by winning the 2004 and 2005 MotoGP World Championship after leaving Honda to join Yamaha, before regaining the title in 2008 and retaining it in 2009.
Rossi is first in all time 500 cc/MotoGP race wins standings, with 77 victories, and second in all time overall wins standings with 103 race wins (behind Giacomo Agostini with 122).

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi

Career

The early years

Valentino Rossi was born in Urbino, and he was still a child when the family moved to Tavullia. Son of Graziano Rossi, a former motorcycle racer, he first began riding at a very young age. Rossi's first racing love was karting. Fuelled by his mother, Stefania's, concern for her son's safety, Graziano purchased a kart as substitute for the bike. However, the Rossi family trait of perpetually wanting to go faster prompted a redesign; Graziano replaced the 60cc motor with a 100cc national kart motor for his then 5-year-old son.

Rossi won the regional kart championship in 1990. After this he took up minimoto and before the end of 1991 had won numerous regional races.
 

 
 
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