Location: Mugello, Italy
Date: Sunday May 31, 2009
Race position: 3rd
Valentino Rossi Mugello (‘Hands’) Helmet 2009:
After finishing in last place in the previous race (Le Mans), Valentino Rossi came to Mugello under a great deal of pressure – his home crowd wanted to see him take his 8th consecutive win at Mugello, but Rossi also had to contend with Jorge Lorenzo who was in an astonishing run of form, as well as a resurgent Casey Stoner. This would arguably be Rossi’s toughest challenge in quite a while.
As is tradition, Rossi revealed a new helmet design for the Mugello race. Designed by Aldo Drudi, it featured Rossi’s gloved hands painted on either side of the helmet giving the impression that Rossi was holding his head in his hands. The helmet had a dark blue background, and the rear of the helmet had a cartoon of Rossi’s two Bulldogs, called Cesare and Cecilia, who also had their paws covering their heads. The design was finished off with a yellow number ‘46′ at the top and rear of the helmet, and the colours of the Italian flag at the base.
Valentino said he had the design created to signify the unique pressure and stress of the Mugello round – the track is a tough physical test for the riders with lots of fast turns, and Rossi has the added expectation of a huge home crowd, who are all there expecting to see him win and maintain his unbeaten record.
The race began on a wet track and it was Casey Stoner and Chris Vermeulen that took the early lead. For the first few laps Rossi was content to sit back and watch Stoner, Vermeulen, and Dovizioso trade positions at the front. Valentino took the lead on lap 9, but then came in to change his tyres to slicks on lap 10 as the track had sufficiently dried. Rossi came back out on a hard compound tyre that took a number of laps to get up to temperature which cost him dearly. Lorenzo made a stunning surge back up to take second place, whilst Casey Stoner comfortably led the race. Rossi had to battle hard and managed to take 3rd place.
Valentino Rossi said:
“Of course I am disappointed not to win again in Mugello but seven times in a row is not so bad and the important thing is that I made it onto the podium. It’s a very special moment in Mugello, with all the fans below, and I would have been very sad to have missed that!
It was a very hard race today and once again the weather was a problem for us, we’re very unlucky in these half-and-half races and I think this is my first podium in one.
In the wet we were very fast because we had found a great setting, but then when we changed bikes we made a mistake and chose a front tyre that was too hard, so it took me a long time to be able to put enough temperature on it and I lost a lot of time. At the end I was able to ride better and I knew that I had to make it onto the podium, so I am happy for this. Of course after Le Mans this is a big improvement and these points are important because it’s very close between the three of us.”
It was always going to be hard for Valentino to top his ‘My Face‘ Mugello helmet from the previous year, but 2009’s Hands helmet was a clever way for Rossi to get across the stress and pressure of Mugello.
Image Gallery of AGV Rossi Mugello (‘Hands’) Helmet 2009:
It is pretty hard to still find replicas of this at the moment, so if you want to pick one up then we suggest eBay as the best option. Take a look at at the Valentino Rossi Mugello Hands helmet on .