Valentino Rossi has a long-running relationship with Mugello, the Italian track located in the Tuscan hills which for a long time was Valentino’s home race. The Italian fans would come to Mugello in their thousands to see Valentino race.
Whilst Mugello still remains a crucial track for Valentino Rossi, there is another track which appeared on the MotoGP calander in 2007 that has a special place in Rossi’s heart – the ‘Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli‘.
This track is located in Misano Adriatico (in the Province of Rimini) and it is just a few miles from Valentino’s home town of Tavullia, and if there ever was a home race for Valentino then this is it. Members of Rossi’s fanclub walk from Tavullia to the circuit in a a big yellow procession on raceday, and the local priests in Tavullia even ring the bells when Valentino wins.
The circuit also has extra-special significance since it was renamed in 2012 from ‘Misano World Circuit‘ to ‘Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli‘ in tribute to local racer, and close friend of Valentino Rossi, Marco Simoncelli.
Rossi has used the Misano MotoGP to reveal some of his most famous helmet designs, and some of his most personal ones. You can see all the special helmets that Valentino Rossi has used for the Misano MotoGP since 2007 below.
The circuit itself was built in 1969 and has gone through a number of changes since it was opened, and during its history races have been held in anti-clockwise and clockwise directions around the circuit (MotoGP races are currently held in a clockwise direction). In the 1990s the track length was extended to 2.53 miles.
Valentino Rossi’s Misano helmets:
You know a track is important to Valentino Rossi when he has a special helmet made for the occasion each year. In 2007 Valentino suffered an engine failure meaning he couldn’t play any meaningful role in the race, but in 2008 he returned with a a custom helmet to celebrate the circuit and has had a special Misano design created for the race every year since.
His first helmet design was known as ‘My House’ and it showed a cartoon house on the helmet that was supposed to represent Vale’s home. It was full of small details like the number 46 above the front door, and Sun and Moon windchimes hanging above the window at the back of the helmet. As always, Valentino creates all his special Misano helmet designs with Aldo Drudi.
Since 2008 Valentino has often used the Misano MotoGP as the backdrop for some of his most memorable helmets – in 2009 after crasing out at the Indianapolis MotoGP in the previous round Rossi returned to Misano with a giant donkey on his helmet to poke fun at his mistake. Rossi also used Misano to pay tribute to his fallen friend Marco Simoncelli in 2013 with the beautiful ‘Wish You Were Here‘ helmet which used artwork from Pink Floyd’s album of the same name.
Other crowd-pleasing helmets from Misano have included the WTF! helmet, which showed Rossi’s mindset during his difficult time at Ducato when he was struggling to be competitive on the Desmosedici, or the ‘Watch out for Sharks‘ helmet from 2015.
All Valentino Rossi’s Misano helmets: