Valentino Rossi usually gets a special helmet design created for the MotoGP Winter Tests, and in recent years they have mostly been designed around a running joke of having ‘winter tests’ in the tropical heat of Malaysia at the Sepang circuit.
This year Valentino Rossi has taken a different direction and has produced one of the most beautiful and intricate designs that we have seen him on track with in years.
Rossi’s new 2017 and 2018 winter testing helmet is based on the Mexican art style known as Huichol. the Huichol are Native Americans that reside in the Mexican states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Zacatecas, and Durango. The Huichol are famous for their yarn paintings and more recently their bead art. It is this beadwork style that Valentino Rossi’s new helmet design is based on.
The Huichol traditionally make the beads from clay, glass, plastic, or metal and then press them on to wooden forms in order to create their designs. Racing around a track at high speed on a motorbike whilst wearing a wooden beaded helmet isn’t a great idea, so Rossi and Aldo Drudi decided to recreate the effect by painting Rossi’s AGV Pista GP R helmet to make it look like it had been created from the Huichol’s beadwork.
The effect is stunning, and it features a beaded sun and moon on the top of helmet and a beaded turtle at the rear – two of Rossi’s long running themes. Davide Degli Innocenti, the graphics and colouring manager at Drudi Performance basically hand-painted the dots across the entire helmet to give the ‘bead effect’.
AGV showed off the helmet on their instagram feed, see below:
Valentino Rossi became fascinated with Huichol art on a recent trip to Mexico and he was enamoured with the style and the fact that Huichol folk-art also uses images of turtles and the sun, and various other symbols and motifs close to Valentino’s heart.
Valentino Rossi talks about the inspiration and describes the helmet design below:
“Huichol art immediately intrigued me, because it uses many of my symbols, like the sun and moon or the turtle. We have tried to recreate the effect of the beads that the Mexicans use to bring colour and shape to these objects, but to do so with a Valentino Rossi twist. The helmet looks really good, Aldo Drudi did a great job, as did Davide in particular – hecreated the beads with a brush, one by one. We might say that the helmet has become a work of art, something we’ve never seen before.”
Check out the photos of Valentino Rossi’s Huichol inspired winter test helmet below:
Fans are going to be holding their breath waiting to find out if this will ever get released in production or as a limited edition – I expect it will fly off the shelves if AGV ever release it as a replica.