Location: Mugello, Italy
Date: 22nd May 2016
Race position: DNF
It’s MotoGP, it’s Italy, it’s Mugello….it’s time for a new special Valentino Rossi helmet. True to form, Valentino Rossi brought a new helmet with him for his home race at Mugello, and in 2016 he decided to use the fans and the circuit as the inspiration for the design.
The design was created by Aldo Drudi, the creative genius behind pretty much all of Valentino’s helmets, and it used bright yellow as the primary theme. The helmet features the outline of the Mugello circuit on the top of the helmet, and the words ‘Mugiallo’ is written in bold black letters around the front of the helmet above the visor. This isn’t a spelling mistake – it is a play on words intended as a tribute to the fans known as the “Popolo Giallo” (the Yellow crowd) and to the circuit itself. The word for yellow in Italian is ‘giallo’ so by turning ‘Mugello’ into ‘Mugiallo’ Rossi is stating that ‘Mugello is Yellow’ – this is a statement that you’d have a hard time denying as every year the crowds flock to Mugello to support Vale with yellow shirts, flags, banners, flags, and even smoke bombs.
The rear of the helmet features a cartoon of Valentino’s two bulldogs and his cat who are depicted in red, white, and green – the tricolours of Italy.
Aldo Drudi, the designer of the helmet, said:
“Yellow is the official colour of Valentino Rossi so we decided to use it as the background so the helmet looks bright and yellow, easy to recognise in the middle of the grid. And we played with the name of the circuit “Mugello’ and we changed it to ‘Mugiallo’ which means ‘mu-yellow’, so everthing is in line to find from the circuit, from the people, from the fans all the energy to do the best. That is the tribute that Valentino wanted to do to the people coming here and he expects to have the circuit full yellow tomorrow.
This is a bright and stunning helmet.
Despite having a helmet designed as a tribute to the circuit, Valentino Rossi’s ‘love / hate’ relationship with Mugello continued in 2016. Mugello was once a circuit where Valentino Rossi could do no wrong, in total he has 9 wins in all classes at Mugello and between 2002–2008 he won the Grand Prix there 7 consecutive times. In 2010 Valentino broke his leg at Mugello in one of the warm-up sessions and since then he hasn’t managed to win at the track.
2016 proved to be equally as frustrating for Valentino. The weekend started better than could have been expected as Rossi sent the Italian fans wild by claiming pole position for the race. Expectations were high for race day, but sadly Rossi suffered an engine failure that was subsequently blamed on a software error that forced him to retire from the race with smoke pouring from his Yamaha M1 on lap 8. Up until that point Rossi was well in the hunt for another victory after battling for the lead with Jorge Lorenzo over multiple laps. Lorenzo went on to win the race after a last gasp battle with Marc Marquez who took second.
Talking after the race, Valentino Rossi said:
“In English they say ‘shit happens’! It’s a great shame, because it’s always a pity when you have a problem with the bike in the race, but here even more so because it was in Mugello in front of all the crowd. I was very competitive in the race and very fast, I had a good start and I was there. I think I could have fought for the victory because I had a very good feeling and a strong pace. It’s also a great shame because this zero points score for the championship weighs very heavily. Lorenzo and Marquez finished first and second, so now the distance is hard, but it’s like this. The positive thing is that I was competitive over the whole weekend and I was strong. I could have fought for the victory, so now we wait for the next race in Montmeló. Catalunya is one of my favourite tracks, I like to race there a lot, so I think we will have a good potential, but now we have to wait ten days and after that we will see.”
Video showing 360 degree view of the Mugiallo helmet:
Image gallery of Valentino Rossi’s ‘Mugiallo’ helmet:
AGV have made the ‘Mugiallo’ helmet available as a replica in the AGV Corsa R range, buy it here.