Here is where it all began.
Valentino Rossi started his Grand Prix racing career in 1996 for Aprilia in the 125cc category on the Aprilia RS125R.
Rossi had mixed success in his first season; he suffered numerous crashes and failed to finish five of the season’s races – Rossi crashed out of four races and suffered one mechanical failure. Rossi saw this season as a learning experience and quickly built up his skills, and by August 1996 Valentino Rossi secured his first victory at Brno in the Czech Republic. Rossi managed to finish the championship in 9th place with a total of 111 points, collecting two podiums and one pole position during the course of the season.
1996 saw Valentino Rossi kick off his partnership with helmet design Aldo Drudi, and he firmly established the Sun and the Moon (Soleluna) as a recurring motif and a key part of his helmet designs.
Why does Valentino Rossi use the Sun and Moon on his helmets? Rossi has said on numerous occasions that he id drawn to the Sun and Moon as they reflect the two sides of his personality:
“I like the sun and the moon because from a graphic standpoint, they are beautiful, and they evoke day and night, beauty and the beast, the good and the bad, the angel and the devil… That’s how I feel, I have my darker side, aggressive and mean, like all good riders…” — Valentino Rossi
1996 Valentino Rossi Helmets
This is where it all began – the original Sun and Moon design that Rossi would keep as a persistent theme throughout his career. The Sun and Moon were used as Rossi stated that they reflected the two sides of his personality