Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Valentino Rossi: 'John Surtees was great...!'

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The Doctor had a blast on the 1198, putting in 30 laps at Silverstone...

Valentino Rossi recently joined a host of motorsport champions from the past and the present (including names like Sir Stirling Moss, John Surtees, Nigel Mansell, Jenson Button and many others...), in an inauguration ceremony to open the Silverstone circuit’s new, state-of-the-art pit, paddock and conference complex – The Silverstone Wing. With 41 garages, a race control building, a podium, media centre, hospitality and VIP spectator zones, The Silverstone Wing provides a world-class facility for teams, race officials and spectators.

Rossi also used the opportunity to log 30 practice laps of the Silverstone circuit, on a regular Ducati 1198 streetbike. ‘I really had fun. After a few laps with the 1198 Superbike, we had a problem with the electronics and decided to use the 1198 streetbike that Ducati’s UK affiliate rushed to us. I really liked riding that bike here. The track is nice – difficult and very technical. It makes you work hard because there are very fast sections where, having the right trajectory is important, and others that are very narrow where you have to have good grip under acceleration,’ said The Doctor. ‘I enjoyed it especially because there were many drivers and riders who have great histories in motorsports, like John Surtees [the only man who’s ever won both F1 and premier-class motorcycle grand prix racing world championships], who told me that he raced here in the ’50s. I wasn’t following racing then, but he was great!’ added Rossi.

Jenson Button, a bike fan himself, also had something to say about Rossi & Co. 'What we do is pretty crazy, pushing the F1 beasts to the limit. But what these guys do is amazing. They are amazing riders but they are absolute nutcases. I watched the race in Le Mans and those guys are out of this world. How close they get to each other, even with punching going on as well on the bike, is amazing. We can’t do that because we can’t reach!' said Button.

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