Valentino Rossi is an undeniable name in motorcycles. Born in Tavullia, Rossi holds well over nine world titles and many other records broken and / or yet to be broken. ‘Vale’, as it is also called, exchanged arguments on the track (and sometimes off) with different riders from different generations, always trying to adapt to countless technical situations and circumstances.
This year 2021, the legendary # 46 will retire from the track as a full-time two-wheeler. In the future, he will follow his followers and teams to the world circuit (and beyond) and participate in motorsport.
Although the final farewells have not yet been said, some are already preparing for a âsee you soonâ. Matteo Flamigni is one of the few to have been able to accompany Valentino Rossi since his arrival at Yamaha for the 2004 season. The engineer closely followed everything that happened with the # 46, from the victory of several titles to his time at Ducati. In a text shared on his Instagram account, Matteo Flamigni wrote and recalled a past that brought so many memorable good times to the Italian duo:
âSince yesterday afternoon, I think of the press conference during which you announced your decision to withdraw from the competition. I can’t help but think about it because it means that after next year a new chapter will begin in both of our lives. You will no longer be racing motorcycles and I will no longer watch Valentino’s telemetry. I sit in the backseat of the car driving me back to the hotel after free practice in Austria and watch the landscape pass quickly before my eyes, as fast as the 18 years we have spent together on the circuits of the world whole.
My mind wanders. Suddenly, the green of the mountains gave way to the memory of all the victories that we have won together from far away [year] 2004 in Welkom. Including, even before, the moment I knew I would work with you. It was an afternoon in October 2003 in Phillip Island, Australia. It was very, very cold. It was already dark when I was told the rumors were true and that you were going to race for Yamaha next year.
When I was told I was going to be your telemetry guy, the excitement was so great the cold feeling turned into uncontrollable excitement. I got goosebumps and it was definitely not from the low temperature. I immediately called home to tell my wife and woke her up in the middle of the night because I forgot about the nine hour time difference. I didn’t sleep that night thinking what it would be like to work with you, the champion defending the title. I won’t hide from you that I was a little scared. You have always been a rival in the past, in all categories, from 125 to 250, in 500 and in MotoGP.
But I was drawn to you, impressed with the way you run, the way you interpret races, and the new way to celebrate after every win. Although I had worked with several riders before and had years of experience, I began to wonder if I was up to such an important and delicate task. Yamaha is committed to giving a motorcycle to the most successful rider in motorcycle history. Satisfaction with the good news gave way to worry, to fear of disappointing expectations.
When we first met and talked, I was able to put all the insecurities behind me and give myself an extra boost of excitement. We were in the parking lot of the Sepang circuit, we exchanged a few jokes, and you greeted me with a big smile, saying “see you soon and you will see that we are going to have fun.” You were right, as you have done with so many other tough decisions that have marked your successful career. Our adventure began like this. From that moment on, I became your telemetry man and our harmony grew year by year.
I have always tried to do my best to help you win. You trusted me, my work, my advice, and you rewarded me by winning more than any other driver, giving me endless emotions race after race. Always different emotions, never the same, because you were born in always different contexts, facing riders of three different generations who had to surrender to your infinite qualities.
Winning the first race at Welkom in 2004 was a dream, but the first World Championship at Phillip Island was truly a spectacle. Every now and then at home I hold in my hands the photo of the day you and I kissed happily like never before. Then come three other world championships: 2005 where we won 11 races, 2008, characterized by the switch to Bridgestone tires, and 2009.
The winning weapon was not only your enormous talent, but more importantly, your constant desire to learn, that ability to always put yourself on the line in an attempt to improve yourself and the set available. This is precisely your secret weapon: an unlimited passion for two wheels that leads you to make all the sacrifices in order to obtain the desired results.
You know how to be a true leader able to value the people who work with you, who never miss the opportunity to publicly thank the team, on and off the track. I cherish the helmets you have given me very carefully. I’m proud of it ! I feel that I belong to something unique, such is the atmosphere that has been created around our group.
Your uniqueness is also felt in the way you follow and support the young talents of the academy. I love the idea of ââyou passing on everything you know to young people to help them emerge in this difficult sport.
I have never felt so proud as today. It has been an honor and a privilege to be with you in your long and wonderful career!
Thanks Vale! ‘