Location: Mugello, Italy
Date: Sunday July 3rd, 2011
Race Position: 6th
Valentino Rossi Occhio (‘The Eye’) Helmet (Mugello 2011)
As is customary, Valentino Rossi unveiled a special helmet design for his home GP at Mugello. The design has become known as ‘The Eye’ or ‘Occhio’ in Italian.
The helmet was designed as a tongue in cheek comment on Rossi’s last race at Mugello where he crashed and broke his leg in the practice session. The Aldo Drudi designed helmet featured a giant eye-ball staring out ahead at the track – supposedly keeping a close watch on the track to prevent Rossi from crashing again. Rossi said “Look out because Mugello can hurt you”.
The helmet design also served as a nod to the fact that Rossi was under intense scrutiny due to his struggle getting to grips with the Ducati, and at Mugello there was little place to hide due to all the Italian fans that flock to Mugello to watch Valentino race.
The helmet was a simple design, and featured a huge graphic of Rossi’s eye situated in the middle, on a white background. The rear of the helmet featured the Italian flag (to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italian unification), and Rossi’s dogs.
Rossi finished 6th in the race and said:
“We have a bike that is different in many aspects from the one we started the season with. We’re aware that it needs to undergo further development from a technical point of view, but even at this stage it has shown that it has a good margin of improvement just with setup.
I lost some time on the start because the clutch slipped, and I was almost last into the first turn, with a lot of ground to make up. It’s a shame because I’ve always managed to do well on the starts with the Ducati this year. Still, I’m not sure how long I would have been able to stay with Spies and Simoncelli even if I had started better. The gap on lap times was less than at Assen, which is positive, but it’s still quite large, about eight tenths. We have to keep working in order to stay with the Hondas and Yamahas. We’re all doing all we can, both us at the track and the guys at Ducati. It’s certainly a difficult situation, but to come here to Mugello and see all these flags and fans cheering always provides a big thrill and gives us motivation to return to the front.”
Video of Valentino Rossi unveiling his ‘Eye’ helmet at Mugello:
Image Gallery of the Valentino Rossi ‘Eye’ or ‘Occhio’ helmet from Mugello 2011: