Location: Misano, San Marino & Riviera di Rimini
Date: Sunday, August 31st 2008
Race position: 1st
Valentino Rossi ‘My House’ helmet from Misano 2008
With Misano being introduced to the MotoGP calender in 2007, and only being a few kilometers from Rossi’s home town of Tavullia the event is officially Rossi’s ‘home race’. Fans come out in their thousands, and Rossi’s official fanclub make the 15km march on race day from Tavullia all the way to the track waving flags, banners and singing.
It’s not just Rossi that gets the attention, as Ducati have a huge following and a rich history in the region and they command a spectators grandstand all to themselves.
To mark the event, Rossi wore a specially designed AGV GP-Tech helmet for the occasion that had a number of meanings. The helmet depicted a cartoon house that was supposed to represent his home – the number 46 hangs above the door, and Rossi’s late bulldog, Guido can be seen lying in his kennel outside in the garden. This represented the fact that Rossi was at his home race, but was also rumored to be a reference to the fact that Rossi had also recently returned to live in Italy after clearing up a tax dispute with the Italian authorities. Previously to 2008 Rossi had been living in London.
Aside from being Rossi’s true home race, it turned out to be special for another reason on the day as Rossi claimed his 68th premier-class victory that put him equal on Grand Prix wins with his great countryman Giacomo Agostini.
“Today is a truly fantastic day and I can’t believe that I have matched Agostini’s record! He was one of my heroes so it’s quite incredible to have made it to 68 wins. This was quite a difficult weekend for us from the start and there has been the added pressure of a home race, which makes it harder to concentrate because there is so much distraction! Mugello has always been ‘my’ track, even though it’s further away from Tavullia, but here, after the bad time last year, we haven’t found it so easy. Once again today however my team gave me a very competitive bike and I felt very confident. I got a good start but then Dani came past me very fast and I then lost a lot of time getting past him and had to take some big risks – I had a big slide! Once I was past him I could see Casey, although I have to admit that today I wasn’t as confident as I was in Brno that I could win. Anyway I kept pushing because it’s not in my nature to ride for second place and I think it still could have been a battle; I was very fast once I found my rhythm. Then I saw Casey slide out. I’m sorry for him once again but this is very good for our championship so I am happy for our team.”
Image Gallery of Valentino Rossi Misano 2008 Helmet:>