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Rossi celebrates 29th birthday

Rossi celebrates 29th birthday

Seven time World Champion and five time premier class title winner Valentino Rossi celebrates his 29th birthday on Saturday as the MotoGP Official Test gets underway in the south of Spain.

Seven time World Champion and five time premier class title winner Valentino Rossi celebrates his 29th birthday on Saturday as the MotoGP Official Test gets underway in the south of Spain.

Groups of fans gathered for the testing sessions at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit have been heard singing ‘Happy Birthday' to the hugely popular MotoGP star, who this weekend steps up his pre-season preparations with his Fiat Yamaha team and new tyre suppliers Bridgestone.

Rossi is also sporting one of his typical special edition helmets to mark his big day, with a unique birthday cake design adorning his headgear.

In celebration of ‘The Doctor's' 29th birthday, wishes Italian rider ‘Buon Compleanno' and picks out 29 facts about the extraordinary life and career of the man from Urbino.

1. Rossi was born in 1979, the year his father Graziano took his first 250cc GP win (at Rijeka, Yugoslavia).

2. He started to race minimotos in 1989 and took his first regional title the following year.

3. Valentino's first proper bike was a Cagiva Mito 125cc he raced in the 93 125cc Italian Sport Production Championship. The following year, he took an official Mito to the title.

4. His first nickname, ‘Rossifumi', came about as a tribute to the much missed Japanese rider Norick Abe.

5. Rossi has an honorary Doctorate in Communications from the University of Urbino.

6. The race number 46 has been ever present in Rossi's career, as the Italian uses same number as his father Graziano ran with during his own GP career.

7. One of Rossi's favourite mascots is a turtle, which he displays with stickers on his Yamaha 800cc bike.

8. As one of the most famous Italians he has been caricatured in cartoon by the designer Milo Manara, who created his helmet artwork for the Mugello 2006 GP.

9. Valentino has become well-known for his wild race celebrations which have included dressing up as Robin Hood and taking an inflatable Claudia Schiffer doll for a ride.

10. His Grand Prix debut was in 1996.

11. The sun and the moon, which Rossi carries drawings of on his helmet, are said to reflect contrasting elements of his personality.

12. In 1999 Rossi created a superhero alter ego for himself named Valentinik.

13. Rossi was 22 when he won the (then) 500cc title in 2001.

14. His first Grand Prix win was in the 125cc race in the Cezch GP of '96.

15. Rossi has represented three manufacturers in the World Championship. With Aprilia he won 12 races in 125cc and 14 in 250cc. In the premier class he earned 33 victories with Honda, before his switch to Yamaha – with whom he has 29 GP wins to his name.

16. Indeed Rossi is the second most successful premier class rider of all time in terms of wins, with 62 in total. Only his compatriot Giacomo Agostini has won more premier class GPs.

17. In 2005, Rossi published his official biography, "What if I had never tried it?"

18. Valentino used Dunlop tyres in the lower classes and Michelin in MotoGP until the end of last year. In 2008 he runs on Bridgestone rubber.

19. When Rossi won the title with Yamaha in 2004 after his sensational move from Honda, it was his fourth consecutive premier class crown.

20. Rossi's pet dog Guido is a British bulldog which he has had since 2000.

21. The Italian has appeared on the podium 135 times in his World Championship career.

22. He has dedicated race wins to other motorsports stars such as Barry Sheene, Colin Mcrae and Mick Hailwood, amongst others.

23. One of Rossi's closest friends Uccio works as his personal assistant in the MotoGP paddock.

24. Rossi once dressed up as Elvis Presley for the magazine Rolling Stone.

25. Along with Shinya Nakano, Rossi has appeared in every race in the modern four-stroke MotoGP era.

26. In fact, since 1996, Rossi has never missed a race.

27. 2008 is Rossi's ninth year in the premier class.

28. He is a big fan of Internazionale (Milan) football club and is a good friend of their Italian international Marco Materazzi.

29. Rossi is a rally enthusiast and an accomplished driver - he has taken part in two WRC events and taken wins at the annual Monza Rally.

MotoGP, 2008, Valentino Rossi, Fiat Yamaha Team

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