The 2004 MotoGP season was a momentous year for Valentino Rossi as it marked his first year riding for Yamaha – Rossi announced his split from Honda on the eve of the final race of 2003. During his 4 seasons with Honda, Rossi had taken 3 World Championship titles and 33 premier-class victories. Rossi eventually managed to persuade Jeremy Burgess, his old crew-chief from Honda, to switch garages and join him at the factory Yamaha team. Rossi cited that he needed a new challenge and at the time Yamaha was an under-performing MotoGP team, and many critics suggested that the switch may have been too much of a challenge.
Rossi silenced his critics by wining the first race of 2004 in South Africa and set a new record of becoming the first rider to win back to back races on two different machines. Valentino and the Yamaha team went on to subsequently win nine out of the sixteen races of 2004 and won the world championship title once again, this was Yamaha’s first world championship in 12 years and Valentino’s fourth consecutive premier class World Title.
2004 Valentino Rossi Helmets
Rossi carried over his 2003 primary helmet design into the 2004 MotoGP season – his first on a Yamaha. Rossi went on to win 8 races and subsequently did the unexpected and claimed another World Championship on what many deemed to be an inferior machine (Yamaha YZR-M1).
Rossi went to race at Mugello for the first time on a Yamaha in 2004. He had won the first race of the season, but had then proceeded to finish outside of the top 3 for the races prior to Mugello. To make fun of his last few race results, Rossi had a special ‘wood graphic’ helmet designed.
Rossi took his 6th World Championship, and his first with Yamaha in 2004 at Phillip Island and celebrated with a custom helmet design he wore for the cool-down lap.
Rossi started testing the new Yamaha with Colin Edwards in November 2004 and came out with a helmet that was based on a famous washing powder and supposed to signify how he had ‘cleaned-up’ in the sport by winning all titles available.