Location: Grand Prix of Italy (Gran Premio d’Italia Alice ), Mugello
Date: Sunday, 3rd June, 2001
Race position: DNF
From 2002 to 2008 Valentino Rossi was the King of Mugello, winning 7 consecutive races there, and the Italian MotoGP set in the Tuscan hills became a celebration of Italy’s most famous rider. Ever the showman, Rossi plays to the crowd and every year he comes to race with a customised helmet design, usually with graphics that hold a message to the fans, or an amusing image poking fun at himself. But despite his success there, Mugello doesn’t always go to plan for ‘The Doctor’, and 2001 was another one of those years.
Valentino Rossi’s 2001 trip to Mugello did not end well ,and despite the unusual weather of rain and storm clouds, Valentino was decked out in a bright Hawaiian style livery with a customised helmet to match.
The race itself was red flagged and then restarted. In the first race Rossi managed to fight with the front runners but the wet track conditions saw Rossi crash his Nastro Azzuro sponsored NSR Honda on the way to the grid and Rossi was sent flying down the track. He was unhurt and managed to start the second race (which was now being judged on aggregate timing to decide the outcome) on a new bike. Again, after some strong fighting towards the front Rossi crashed again whilst overtaking Loris Capirossi, and Rossi lost the front of his bike and he lowsided on the apex of he corner and it was race over.
Alex Barros led on aggregate, Caprirossi came second, and Max Biaggi came third allowing him to close the points gap on the previously dominant Rossi.
Valentino Rossi 2001 Mugello Helmet:
The helmet Valentino wore for the Mugello race was a Hawaiian design created by Aldo Drudi. The helmet had a blue background that featured numerous lighter blue hibiscus flowers. The sun design was placed at the front of the helmet with the Valentino face logo in the center – in each of the suns rays that zig zag back across the helmet are more flowers. The moon is featured on the rear of the helmet.
The basic layout of the Sun and Moon design was the same as his primary race helmet in 2001 – but the design had been given a Hawaiian make-over.
2001 would the the last time that Rossi would race at Mugello in a full matching helmet and bike livery. All future rounds would feature some famous and memorable custom race helmets, but they were never coupled with a full motorcycle livery again.
Image Gallery of the Valentino Rossi Mugello 2001 Helmet:
This is a beautiful helmet design and recently it was released as a race replica in the affordable AGV K3 range, but it is now sadly discontinued.
Model collectors and more casual Valentino Rossi souvenir hunters are in luck though, as you can get some beautiful scale models of the helmet and bike that Rossi raced with at the 2001 Mugello 500cc race. Check the links below for more.
|Check out the Valentino Rossi 2001 Mugello models at Amazon|
|Check out the Valentino Rossi 2001 Mugello models at MiniModelShop.co.uk|
|Check out the Valentino Rossi 2001 Mugello models at OnPole.com|