Location: IRTA MotoGP Test Catalunya, SPAIN
Date:17th, March 2003
Position:5th Fastest in test
Valentino Rossi often brings a new helmet design for the MotoGP pre-season testing sessions, and these helmets usually have fun and humour as an integral part of the design, but in 2003 Valentino Rossi sported a much more serious and meaningful helmet design.
The final test before the 2003 MotoGP season kicked off was held at the Montmelo circuit at Catalunya with a BMW up for grabs to the fastest rider. This marked the first time that all the competing teams had been together at the same time and in the same place for testing since the 2002 season concluded.
Valentino Rossi came out for testing with a bright rainbow helmet design by Aldo Drudi that contained two messages. The helmet featured all the colours of the rainbow, and had the word ‘PACE’ in large white letters on the back. ‘Pace’ is Italian for ‘Peace’, and the design was used to voice Rossi’s opposition to the invasion on Iraq, a subject that was dominating the news at the time.
In addition to Valentino’s protest against the war in Iraq, the helmet also had the ‘number 7’ on either side as a tribute to Barry Sheene who had died of cancer just days before the testing session commenced. All the teams and riders conducted a minute’s silence in memory of the former 500cc World Champion and highlights of Barry Sheene’s career were shown on the big screens around the circuit.
This helmet was only used for the test sessions and it was nvere used in any of the races for the 2003 MotoGP season.
Image Gallery of the Valentino Rossi Peace/Barry Sheene tribute helmet: