Fans' stories: how Valentino Rossi became a hero to many

Some huge VR46 fans wrote to us to tell us why The Doctor has been an inspiration to them

A few weeks ago, ahead of Valentino Rossi’s (Petronas Yamaha SRT) final MotoGP™ race at the Valencia GP, asked fans to explain why the nine-time World Champion was their hero via social media. Below, we reflect on some of the many, many testimonies that were sent in:

Federico Chiadini

“He lives life with a smile. He had good and difficult moments, funny but also tragic moments on track and in private. But one thing that has always been there is his smile. Living life with a smile is one of Rossi’s greatest teachings.”

Valentino Rossi, Petronas Yamaha SRT, Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana


“He is my childhood hero. I started watching MotoGP when I was four or five, I saw he is one of the faster racers and all eyes looking at the number 46, which is him. I remember when he was side by side with a lot of great racers like Biaggi, Kenny Roberts Jr, Checa, Sete, Barros, Melandri, Capirossi, Hayden, Stoner, Pedrosa, Jorge. But why I chose Vale, he wasn’t just riding a bike, finishing the races and taking a trophy home, he showed how to act classy, how to be number one with style, how to always have great motivation every single day because he is from an old school era to a modern one, and proved that age is just a number. Also because of Vale I started learning how to speak Italian, hopefully I’ll be fluent one day. For me Vale is not just a brilliant rider, but a living legend. 46 always in my heart, grazie Vale!”  

Emely Altmann

"I think I speak on behalf of all motorsport fans now, not only me but his dedication, his character, charisma and ability to inspire millions of people on this planet. For me especially, I’ve been through some hard times when I had to stop playing hockey. But thanks to Rossi I just kept going. I got into the sport because of my parents, they already watched MotoGP, they were Rossi fans and so am I. He made us cheer, laugh, cry and go crazy in front of the TV and at track all over the world. He’s been THE inspiration for younger riders and made our Sundays the best day of the week.”

Sam Bennett

"I was homeless for seven years and it was this man who kept me alive. I was always counting the days until the next race. I used to go to a pub to follow them. I have had a house for ten years and I have not missed a Great Prize since then. I have things related to him all over the place. Without knowing it, he saved my life. "


"Stage 4 cancer – still here. Keep fighting every day, that’s the Vale way!"


"I was four years old when I watched my first race thanks to my father. I was very young, so I understood little of what was happening, but I liked the “yellow bike”. Over time I continued to follow this sport every Sunday and “the yellow bike” began to have a name. That name was Valentino Rossi and it’s only thanks to him that I now follow this competition. He took me, brought me into his world, and made me fall in love with it. Valentino has been a part of my childhood and my adolescence, so if I’m this person today it’s because of him. The races have become my safe place, where the problems disappear when I see him competing. If before I limited myself to watch the races only on a Sunday, with the passing of the years my passion has grown and now the weekend for me starts on Thursday with the press conference.

What do I like about Valentino? Every time I see him compete he always gives me lots of emotions, even now that he does not have good positions. I love his way of making special helmets and those funny celebrations he did at the end of the race. Every time there is an interview it makes me laugh too much. I can’t explain it, but it’s like a ray of sunshine coming out of the TV. I love his English accent, because we Italians have it very special. I like when during the interviews he starts seriously, saying what goes and what doesn’t, but in the end he always managed to make jokes or tell particular anecdotes.”

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