Friday, December 11, 2009

Graziano Rossi: “As soon as you believe you are the best, you are not the best any more…”


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Like most fathers, Graziano Rossi also believes his son doesn't listen to him...

Superbike Planet recently caught up with Valentino Rossi’s very charismatic father, Graziano Rossi, for an interview. Here are some excerpts from Rossi Sr. had to say:

On whether he still visits most MotoGP races

I don't like flying, so I don't often visit the races outside of Europe. But I try to be at all of the European races. I normally drive to the venue. Otherwise, I think Valentino does his job perfectly, even if I am not right beside him all the time…

On whether he hates Valentino’s rivals

No, I have never hated anyone. But it is different every now and then; I tend to dislike those who represent the highest risk to Valentino in the race. Right now for example, I could name Jorge Lorenzo, or even Casey Stoner. Of course, Dani Pedrosa is also very fast. I always viewed him with respect.

On his own racing career

I started off relatively well in 1979, but my three victories [in the 250cc class] cannot be compared to Valentino's long list of over 100 victories. If I had to describe my career, perhaps the most appropriate words would be ‘short’ and ‘unfortunate.’

[Graziano started racing in 1979, in the 250cc class, winning three races that year. He moved to 500s in 1980, though his season was hampered by serious injuries sustained in a major accident on the road. He finally stopped racing in 1982, after a serious accident while racing at the Imola 200.]

On whether he continues to advice Valentino

If I remember right, the last time I tried to advise him on something was when he was six years old. Valentino is a very strong character. When we first started to play with go-karts and mini motorbikes, a couple of times I tried to advise him, but soon I realized it was pointless, because he didn't need my advice. Valentino doesn't like it if someone tries to teach him something, he would rather work it out on his own.

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Graziano believes Valentino's humble attitude is the key to his success...

On his relationship with Valentino

I am very close to my son, but it would be impossible to create a classic father-son relationship with him. Because a father would always want to give advice to his son, and as I mentioned it earlier, in Valentino's case it's out of the question. Our relationship is therefore quite different, maybe more intimate. The parent can do only one thing, which is also the most important one – he can give his son the opportunity to get to know different things, people and life situations, so after that he can decide for himself which one of these will be his ideal. The parent can do no more than that.

On what he thinks Valentino has, which other racers lack

For example, let's say you are running well, and the people around you say, ‘you are good, you are the best.’ If you believe this, you will become bigheaded, and you forget where you came from. The most important thing is to stay truthful to who you really are, and be down to earth. As soon as you believe you are the best, you are not the best any more. From that stage there is no progress. Valentino never believed he was the best, not even now. He works really hard, and at every race he is able to learn new things, and progress.

A good rider will learn until the point when he decides to give up racing. Valentino remained his same old self, just as he was when he first started, and he is still humble in his approach to racing in general.

On why he finally cut his legendary long hair

I bet with Valentino that if he got his first world champion in the 500cc class, I will have my hair cut. He really wanted it and luckily he won it, so I submitted myself to a haircut. But now, I actually like short hair…

For the full interview, please visit Superbike Planet

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