The 2003 MotoGP season for Valentino Rossi was a season of change and flux – it would be Valentino’s last season for Honda and during the course of the season he would announce that he was leaving Honda and would be joining the factory Yamaha team. Many people questioned this decision as Yamaha were far from being a competitive team at the time, but Rossi was keen to take on the challenge and wanted to prove to people that his current MotoGP success up that point was not purely because of the superior Honda machinery he was riding.
Despite this change in Rossi’s attitude and his desire to seek new challenges, the 2003 MotoGP season was more of the same on track – Rossi dominated the year by taking nine pole positions and nice race wins to secure his third consecutive premier class World Championship.
The 2003 season was also notable as it played host to one of Valentino’s greatest races for many fans and pundits. At Philip Island Rossi was awarded a 10 second penalty for overtaking while yellow flags were out after Troy Bayliss had crashed. Despite this penalty Rossi managed to win the race by a clear 15 seconds, making the penalty redundant and winning the race.
During the season Valentino also thrilled the fans with some unique helmet designs, including a ‘Flower Power‘ design for his final race on a Honda, and a football inspired helmet for Mugello. You can check out all the helmets that Valentino Rossi wore during the 2003 MotoGP season below.
2003 Valentino Rossi Helmets
The official Valentino Rossi helmet for 2003 was one of his most popular and longest running helmet designs. The cartoon styles of previous seasons were replaced with a striking back sun and yellow moon.
Rossi’s rainbow designed helmet was used for the final testing session in Catalunya, before the 2003 MotoGP season officially started and contained a couple of hidden messages in the design.
Another one-off helmet design for Mugello. A bold blue background, large white text, and the Italian flag running through the center brought Rossi luck at Mugello in 2003.
Rossi’s last ride on a Honda was marked with this colourful flower design that extended to the whole bike. The design itself was the result of a competition that Repsol Honda and Rossi ran for people to design the livery.