SportMotoGPValentino Rossi's first victory in the motorcycle world championship

Valentino Rossi's first victory in the motorcycle world championship

August 18, 1996. That is the date that will remain engraved forever in the mind of Valentino Rossi. That day, on his Aprilia , the Italian rider debuted at the top of the 125cc podium, achieving the first of the 115 victories that have accompanied him in his sporting career.

Becoming the leader was more than just a challenge for the Italian rider, who soon attracted the attention of the fans thanks to his carefree character and complicity on the bike. However, the pressure that the World Cup required had little to do with the Italian Championship and the European Championship to which the youngster from Tavullia was accustomed.

“My life suddenly changed and within a month I was well known. In the 1996 season I was very excited because being in the World Championship was already a dream for me,” the #46 recalled in an interview for Motogp.com .

Valentino Rossi had to strengthen his mentality and face the demands of competing in the elite. “When you make the jump to the World Championship, you can never be sure. You are afraid of finishing last and not having the level.”

Valentino built his first taste of the honor roll at the Austrian Grand Prix , a third place finish on a shared podium with Ivan Goi and Dirk Raudies . Weeks later, luck was on his side again: the number 46 took pole position at the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic, a first position on the grid that did little for the Italian due to a poor start.

After an imminent duel, Valentino Rossi crossed the finish line 0.245 seconds ahead of Jorge Martínez , experiencing the taste of victory for the first time. “I knew the Brno circuit because I already raced there in the European Championship. On Saturday I took pole position. That was a surprise for me because practice was not my strong point then,” he said.

Valentino Rossi did not wait long to stand up to the most successful drivers of the time, fueling a historic rivalry with the veteran Spanish driver. “He took a step forward with that victory. It made him know that he was one of the best drivers in the world,” confirmed Jorge Martínez.

However, later, in Shah Alam, Malaysia, those rivals experienced one of the most controversial moments that marked the beginning of Valentino’s sporting career. Martínez accused Rossi of malpractice during the race and did not hesitate to go to the Italian’s box after a severe crash. “The older drivers have always wanted to make it clear to the younger ones that they should proceed calmly and that it is their field,” recalls the #46.

Valentino Rossi

For his part, another motorcycling legend, Loris Capirossi, confirmed this: “There were many strong champions and former world champions with a lot of experience in riding at that time. You learn a lot from these riders. Valentino learned a lot from these world champions. world”.

Thirsty for victories, Valentino Rossi began a journey with Aprilia that served as a bridge for the Italian towards the 500cc World Championship . “After winning for the first time everything changes. You know you can do it. After that you want more. Once you know the taste of victory, you always want more.”

So it was. Just one year later, Valentino Rossi won 11 of the 15 races in the season, taking his first title in 1997 and then unequivocally becoming one of the most successful drivers in history.

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