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Rossi distinguished by Italian government with award

Rossi distinguished by Italian government with award

The nine times World Champion was honoured yesterday by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the image he portrays of his country on an international level.

Reigning MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi was received in the Villa Madama in Rome last night by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where Minister Franco Frattini awarded him the first ‘Winning Italy Award’. The Italian star was praised for his vast number of race victories (103 to date) which has seen the Italian national anthem played on five continents.

Personalities such as Vito Ippolito (President of the FIM), Carmelo Ezpeleta (CEO of Dorna), and MotoGP legend Giacomo Agostini were all present, as were ambassadors of the various countries in which the World Championship takes place and personal invitees of Rossi. The highlight of the evening was the award by Minister Frattini to Rossi of a trophy with the inscription ‘Winning Doctor, ambassador of Made in Italy’. Rossi then took questions from the media and spoke on the present and the future.

“Since I returned to Italy I have distanced myself from some people, and now I have returned to surround myself with real friends,” said Rossi. “I am again enjoying the sport and the desire to compete, so I think I will continue for some more years. The trick to staying on top for a long time is having fun. This is the motivation I prefer and avoids controversy. When I was younger I was entertained by that.”

With the media not missing the chance to ask questions about a possible future at Ducati, Rossi was more clear than ever on the subject. “An Italian on an Italian bike would be nice, yes. But I think I want to stay with Yamaha, which is also a little bit Italian. I would feel like a traitor if I acted any other way, because I feel very good with them.”

Rossi then looked forward to the 2010 World Championship, and said: “The young riders in Stoner and Lorenzo seem to me to be more prepared than the old adversaries of Biaggi and Gibernau. Who do I fear the most? Perhaps Stoner, but only because Jorge is injured and will need a few Grands Prix to fully recover.”

Concluding, Rossi gave praise and recognition Giacomo Agostini, whom he embraced at the end of the ceremony.

“I do not know if I will ever overtake him,” said Rossi. “To go where he has been requires a courage which is not comparable to that needed today.”

MotoGP, 2010, Valentino Rossi

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