Locations: Sepang (Malaysia) and Rio (Brazil)
Positions: Sepang – 1st, Rio – 1st
The last two rounds of the 2001 500cc season saw Rossi take back-to-back victories at Sepang and Rio, despite Rossi already having claimed the World Championship. Rossi had a new helmet design for the final two rounds which was based on his primary helmet design during the season.
Sepang, Malaysia 2001:
Despite the championship already being decided, the penultimate round at Malaysia was packed full of action. Rossi managed to put his Nastro Azzurro Honda in second place on the grid for the race, but it was Olivier Jacque that took the early lead from 9th place on the grid. Max Biaggi, Rossi’s main rival during the 2001 season, crashed out after a collision with Kenny Roberts Jr and Rossi was left to run a relatively comfortable race clocking a time of 44”46.652 to claim the Malaysian GP Title.
Rio, Brazil 2001:
The final round of the 500cc Grand Prix season took place at Rio in Brazil. Rossi started the race from 5th on the grid but rain eventually caused the race to be red flagged and it was subsequently restarted. Despite the wet conditions Rossi was able to run a smooth race and finished in 1st place, closely followed by Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi.
Rossi’s helmet for the final two rounds of the 2001 season was an adaptation of his main helmet design that he had worn for the bulk of the races that year – it originally featured a sun with a face at the front of the helmet, and a dark blue night scene with a moon at the rear. The new Aldo Drudi helmet design for Sepang and Rio was changed to feature a tribal style sun at the front with its rays flowing to the back of the lid. At the rear, the previously blue night sky was replaced with a yellow moon on a black background. Rossi also wore this helmet for the winter testing sessions that followed his championship winning 2001 500cc season. It is a beautiful looking helmet and feels worlds away from the cartoon style that his primary 2001 helmet design had.
Valentino Rossi said:
“The new helmet is special because it is a completely different style from my normal one and it is hand painted. I went to see the designer, Aldo Drudi, and we went through lots of different designs together. I told him my ideas and he put them into practice until we came up with the final pattern.”
“Normally the process is to take a helmet of the chosen colour and then add the design with water-based transfers and cover it with a special protective coat. This one, though, was just a plain white helmet, with everything hand-painted on afterwards. I don´t know how many hours it took him to do it but for sure it was a long time.”
“I will wear this helmet for the last two races of this season and for the whole of next season. The other one won the World Championship and the Suzuka 8 hour, so I think that is enough.”
Image Gallery of the Valentino Rossi Sepang and Rio Helmet 2001 (click to enlarge):
Rossi fans will be pleased to know that AGV have produced a replica of this helmet in their affordable K3 range. Find out where to get it below:
Get the AGV K3 Rossi Brazil helmet from Amazon|
|Get the AGV K3 Rossi Brazil helmet at SportsbikeShop.co.uk|