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Rossi's ‘Chain Gang' celebration, one of the best….?

Rossi's ‘Chain Gang' celebration, one of the best….?

Rossi's ‘Chain Gang' celebration, one of the best….?

The show and spectacle of the recent action in the MotoGP Championship is in danger of over-shadowing the crazy celebration antics of Valentino Rossi.

The Italian dominated the series last year and his speeding ticket ‘fine' at the end of the main straight at Mugello was an inspired moment of light relief in what was becoming a heavy demonstration of ferocious talent and Honda's engineering prowess.

In 2003 however ‘The Doctor' has a tougher fight on his hands. Sete Gibernau was won just as many races and at least three of the Grand Prix have been decided on the last few corners of the final circulation. Such was the excitement and drama of the race at Brno that the theatrical ‘ball and chain' prison garb adopted by Rossi on his victory lap was largely ignored by the press, wondering how to begin describing the thrilling event that just occurred before them never mind the role-play just afterwards.

Rossi's showmanship is now the stuff of legend and lends the World Championships a touch of light-heartedness behind all the money, investment and politics.

Previous antics include stopping on the slow down lap and running into a portaloo, adopting a Robin Hood outfit when he won the British GP and picking up a member of his fan club dressed as a giant Chicken. This time, after collecting his fourth victory of the year, he pulled over and assisted by fellow ‘convicts' chained a giant ball to his ankle and started hitting a piece of ‘rock' with a pickaxe. He later kept the prisoner's hat for the podium celebration. The motivation behind the stunt is explained by the man himself:

"The media said I was in crisis because I'd been beaten at the last four races. Leading the championship and finishing on the podium obviously isn't enough, so I must work on the chain gang!"

Rossi apparently had his worst moment of the day after the race when he was stung by a wasp. "I wish that had happened in the race!" joked rival Gibernau. "And if this is Valentino in crisis, I hate to think what he'll do when he's out of crisis!"

One thing's for sure with the recent close racing and Rossi's ability to release pressure with theatrics after the chequered flag, MotoGP has never been more captivating. The burning question is....what will be next and can anything more extravagant than the Brno ‘imprisonment'?

MotoGP, 2003, Valentino Rossi

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