Valentino Rossi has a deep history with the Mugello race circuit which is located in the heart of Italy’s Tuscan hills. For many years Valentino Rossi could do no wrong at the racetrack, it was a charmed place for ‘The Doctor’ and Italian race fans flocked to the Italian MotoGP every year to see their most famous modern morotcycle racer work his magic.
Between 2002 and 2008 Valentino Rossi was untouchable at Mugello and he managed to score seven consecutive wins at the racetrack, and in total he has nine victories at the circuit, the most wins any rider has at Mugello.
It is understandable that with such a dominant record at Mugello that anyone would feel superhuman at the racetrack, and the fans expected Rossi to win at Mugello. It had become his track – how could he lose?
Motorcycle racing is a fickle sport, and Mugello had other ideas about Rossi’s invincibility there. At the 2010 Mugello MotoGP Valentino Rossi suffered a high-speed crash during the morning warm-up and broke his leg. The injury meant Valentino would miss the next few races and it basically ruled out any hope of Valentino winning the championship that year. At the time of writing this, Valentino Rossi hasn’t won at Mugello since, although he has been on the podium a couple of times.
A quick look at the Mugello circuit: The Mugello race track is 5.245 km (3.259 miles) long. It is situated in a dip in the Tuscan hills and it is a twisty but fast racetrack that has 15 turns and a long straight (1141 metres). It is a great venue for fans as the sloped sides of the hills means you can usually get a great vantage of the track and its beautiful surroundings no matter where you are.
Valentino Rossi’s Mugello helmets:
Valentino Rossi first wore a different helmet design at Mugello in 2001, it was created to match his bike which was decked out in Hawaiian livery. The 500cc race was ultimately red flagged due to severe rain and Rossi failed to finish the race after crashing twice, but a new tradition was born.
In 2002 Valentino Rossi wore his first custom Mugello helmet (one that was not part of a wider motorcycle livery design) and it was a tribute to his father – called the ‘True Italian’ the design was an updated version of the helmet graphics that Rossi’s father used to race in. You can see it below.
The tradition of revealing a new helmet design for Mugello has now become an event in itself and the journalists and fans wait with baited breath on the morning of race day when the latest design is usually unveiled. As each year has passed, Valentino has had increasingly elaborate designs created for Mugello, often using them as a way to communicate with the fans, to celebrate recent successes or to poke fun at recent failures, or to simply make people laugh.
Probably the most famous helmet design that Rossi has ever revealed at Mugello came in 2008 when he wore a helmet that had a photo of his screaming face on the top which could be seen when Rossi put his head down when riding his Yamaha M1. The helmet was intended to show fans what it felt like to cling on to a MotoGP bike as you hurtle around the fast circuit and try and brake at the end of the long straight.
All Valentino Rossi’s Mugello helmets:
Check all of Valentino Rossi’s special Mugello helmets below, you can click on each one to find out a bit more about the story and inspiration behind each design:
Watch the mini-documentary in 2 parts where Valnetino Rossi talks about some of his most meaningful Mugello helmets designs and take a look behind the scenes at footage of Rossi and Aldo Drudi creating the 2012 Mugello helmet: