The 2006 MotoGP season was notable for two reasons – firstly, it marked the last year that 990cc four-stroke bikes were specified to race (maximum engine capacity was reduced to 800cc in 2007). Secondly, it marked the year that Valentino Rossi’s previous domination of the MotoGP class would end, when Nicky Hayden became World Champion. Hayden had only won a handful of races, but he had been consistently in the top 3 for most of the season and was clocking up the points.
Rossi staged an impressive comeback in the second half of the season and held the points advantage in the last two races, only to crash out in the final round at Valencia – Hayden finished in 3rd place, which was enough to hand him the title.
Valentino updated his primary helmet design in 2006 and the Aldo Drudi design ‘Gothic‘ helmet became Valentino Rossi’s primary race design. As usual, Valentino also came out with a few custom one-off helmets during the season, including a stunning helmet that was designed by Italian artist and writer Milo Manara for the 2006 Mugello MotoGP.
2006 Valentino Rossi Helmets
Rossi came out for the Winter Test with a simple design that featured a huge ‘number 46’ dominating the front and sides of the helmet, with 7 bullet holes painted on top.
The Drudi designed Gothic helmet was a recurring design in 2006 and 2007 with various colour variations. Rossi raced more frequently with the Yellow version (yellow sun on black background, black moon on yellow background) version in 2007, but the helmet also got used for a few races in 2006.
This is the companion helmet to the Gothic Yellow helmet. Featuring the same design and graphics, but it reveals a white sun on a black background, and a black moon.
A really distinctive design was used at Mugello in 2006 and quickly became a favourite with the fans. Rossi had Milo Manara, an Italian artist who was primarily known for comic books and graphic novels, to create a comic storyboard loosely based on Rossi in Manara’s own unique style.