Between February 4th to the 6th, the MotoGP paddock returned to Sepang to kick off the first tests of 2014 before the season started, and Valentino Rossi had plenty left to prove after a disappointing 2013 season.
After returning to Yamaha in 2013 and struggling to keep up with the leading three riders of the 2013 season (Lorenzo, Pedrosa, and Marquez) Valentino made the surprise decision of ending his 14 year relationship with his crew chief Jeremy Burgess and replacing him with Silvano Galbusera. Rossi had stated that if he was unable to be competitive in 2014 then he would seriously consider quitting MotoGP, and the first 6 races would be instrumental in his decision, and changing his crew chief was an attempt to try a different approach and provide new motivation for this final push.
Taking about the change Rossi said:
“He is not just my chief mechanic, he is like part of my family – my father in racing,”
“It was a very difficult decision for me because I have a great history with Jeremy.
“But I’ve decided for next year I need to change something to try to find new motivation and to have a boost to improve my level, my speed.”
The changes seemed to have an impact as Rossi finished second in the testing sessions. Marc Marquez still dominated, but the gap between Rossi and Marquez by the final day was only marginal.
The Double Face helmet:
Valentino Rossi often uses the winter test sessions as an excuse for creating a fun and eye-catching helmet design, and in 2014 he revealed one of his strangest helmet designs to date.
It has gone on to become known as the ‘Double Face’ helmet, and this new Aldo Drudi design took Rossi’s primary race helmet design, the ‘SoleLuna‘, and flipped it around so it was reversed – complete with a painted visor on the rear with a graphic of Valentino’s face looking back which completed the illusion that the helmet was on back-to-front.
The Moon, usually at the rear of the helmet was placed at the front, with The Sun (usually at the front) was placed at the rear. The image of Valentino’s face peering out of the visor at the back was a fun joke that was intended to mean that Rossi would be watching all other riders very closely as he sought to regain his competitive edge. The message was clear – Rossi wanted to show his rivals that he has his eyes firmly fixed on them for the championship, and he is ready for the the fight. “I have my eyes on you”.
Image gallery of the Valentino Rossi Double Face helmet:
Where can I buy it?:
AGV released a replica of this helmet in Limited Edition numbers which you can see on our Product Page. This Valentino Rossi probably has less street-appeal than some of his other replicas, given that it is so odd, but it probably has long term appeal for collectors as when Rossi retires we would image that this design will stand out as one of the more distinctive and rare ones (also check ).