2004 was the historic year that Valentino switched from Honda to Yamaha, taking his crew chief Jerry Burgess with him. Many critics doubted that Valentino Rossi would be able to be competitive on what was regarded as inferior machinery, but Rossi and Burgess managed to work to the strengths of the bike, and then left Rossi to do the rest at the start of the season. The first race was held at Welkom in South Africa and Rossi made history not just by winning, but also by becoming the first rider to win back to back races on different bikes (a Honda for the last race of 2003, and Yamaha for the first race of 2004).
We’ve collected video highlights of Valentino Rossi’s first season on the Yamaha YZR-M1.
Videos of Valentino Rossi’s 2004 MotoGP Season:
Valentino Rossi’s first win with Yamaha:
The first race of the 2004 MotoGP season took place at Welkom in South Africa, and Rossi soon found himself in a battle with his old rival Max Biaggi. Rossi got the better of him to win the race. The video below shows the final laps of Valentino Rossi’s race at Welkom, his victory, and the now famous footage of Rossi parking up his bike, kissing it, and then sitting down and crying with joy.
Valentino Rossi at Phillip Island 2004:
Valentino Rossi was crowned the 2004 MotoGP World Champion at Phillip Island in Australia after another thrilling battle with Sete Gibernau. This video shows the final lap, and the celebrations where Rossi received the ‘Che Spettacolo’ helmet: