Born: February 16, 1979, Urbino, Italy.
Nickname: "The Doctor"
Occupation: MotoGP Rider (Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing)
Valentino Rossi is one of the most accomplished superbike riders in the history of the sport. At the young age of twenty-four he has already managed to win four grand prixs and is expected to win again. Rossi is Italy's highest paid athlete, making upwards of 15 million Euros ($18.89 million) annually.
Favorite Fictional Character
Dog (Valentino has an English bulldog named Guido)
Valentino's father, Graziano Rossi, raced motorcycles in the 1970's. Valentino uses number 46 because it was his father's number.
1996: Rossi makes his World Championship debut on an Aprilia at the 125cc Malaysian Grand Prix. He finishes the season in ninth with 111 championship points.
Wins: Czech Republic
1997: Once again racing an Aprilia, this time for the Nastro Azzurro Team, Rossi finishes with 321 points to become the second youngest 125cc champ ever.
Wins: Brazil, Catalunya, France, Germany, Great Britain, Imola, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, and Spain.
1998: Now racing a 250cc Aprilia, Rossi finishes the season in second place with 201 points. His fellow Italian, Loris Capirossi, takes first.
Wins: Argentina, Australia, Catalunya, Imola, and Netherlands.
1999: Taking second place motivated Rossi to do better, and in 1999 he became the youngest 250cc champ ever on the Aprilia GP Team.
Wins: Australia, Brazil, Catalunya, Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, and South Africa.
2000: Rossi moves up to the 500cc class, returning the Nastro Azzurro Team to race a Honda. He ends the season in second place with 209 points.
Wins: Brazil, Great Britain.
2001: Once again riding a 2-Stroke Honda NSR for Nastro Azzurro, Valentino has a mammoth season with eleven victories and 325 points. Rossi becomes the youngest rider to ever win titles in three different classes, a feat that only two other riders have accomplished in the fifty-six years of Grand Prix motorcycle racing.
Wins: Japan, South Africa, Spain, Catalunya, Great Britain, Czech Republic, Portugal, Pacific, Australia, Malaysia and Brazil.
2002: Rossi competes in the crown jewel of motorcycle racing, newly-created class MotoGP. Riding a 4-Stroke Honda RC211V for the Repsol Honda Team, he dwarfs his 2001 record by winning eleven races and finishing with 355 points to become the 2002 MotoGP World Champion.
Wins: Japan, Spain, France, Catalunya, Italy, Netherlands, Great Britain, Germany, Portugal, Brazil and Australia.
2003: With nine wins and 357 points, Rossi takes his second consecutive MotoGP World Championship.
Wins: Japan, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Portugal, Rio, Malaysia, Australia and Valencia.
2004: Racing a Yamaha YZR-M1 for the Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha racing team, Rossi manages to clinch the world title after winning at Phillip Island, the second to last race of the season. His margin of victory is a mere 0.097 seconds in front of arch-rival Max Biaggi (Honda). It is Rossi's third consecutive MotoGP Championship and fourth consecutive world championship. This fourth success establishes him as one of the best grand prix riders in the history of the sport.
Wins: South Africa, Italy, Catalunya, Netherlands, Great Britain, Portugal, Malaysia, Australia