Location: Grand Prix of Italy (Gran Premio d’Italia Alice ), Mugello
Date: Sunday, June 4, 2006
Race position: 1st
Mugello was round 6 of the 2006 MotoGP season and turned out to be one of the most exciting races in years – Rossi took the win, but only after a huge battle with Loris Capirossi, Marco Melandri, and both the Repsol Hondas of Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa. The race was also Valentino Rossi’s 5th consecutive win at his home Grand Prix.
Valentino Rossi Mugello 2006 Helmet by Milo Manara:
As has become tradition, Rossi had a specially designed helmet created for the event. The helmet for 2006 was designed by Milo Manara, an Italian artist and writer best known for his graphic novels, comic books, and distinctive erotic art. Manara has a reputation for writing and illustrating comics that feature elegantly drawn, beautiful, and semi-dressed women exploring erotic and fantasy storylines.
The helmet design was not dominated by the sun and the moon as past Rossi helmets have been, but instead it featured significant symbols from Rossi’s life in a comic storyboard format. The right-hand side of the helmet featured Enzo Ferrari, and the left-hand side featured Steve McQueen – two men that Rossi counts as his heros.
The top of the helmet is split into 4 storyboard panels and features Manara’s drawings of Rossi, his dog Guido, Osvaldo the chicken (an early sponsor of Rossi that featured notably in one of Rossi’s on-track celebrations), and one of the topless girls that Manara is famous for in his artwork.
The back of the helmet featured the number 74 in tribute to the late Daijiro Kato (Kato died in 2003 after a crash, 74 was his racing number) and the word “Quarantasei” – the Italian for ’46’.
Valentino Rossi said:
“My new helmet design is by a famous Italian cartoonist called Milo Manara. He has drawn a kind of mythical story of my life, with some of my heroes like Steve McQueen, Enzo Ferrari and Jim Morrison, with other characters like my dog Guido, Osvaldo the chicken and lots of beautiful women! I really like it and Milo is somebody I have admired for a long time.”
“Comics are magical. For a big fan like me, to be part of this imaginary collective created by the most important comic book author in the world is an unbeatable feeling. “In addition to being an amazing artist, Milo is a person with great humanity. He’s someone who you love from the first instant”
Milo Manara also worked with Valentino on an actual comic book called Quarantasei in July 2006 that was created by Manara as a fantasy work loosely based on the life of Rossi. Sadly it is very hard to find now, but copies still pop up from time to time at Amazon
Here is a page from the book where Valentino meets Steve McQueen, one of his heros:
You can check out more pages and artwork from Quarantasei in the image gallery below.
A very limited edition replica was made of this helmet in the AGV Ti-Tech range, it has long sold out, but you can see what it looked like at FC-Moto.com. Pretty stunning and definitely a collectors item if there ever was one.