Lando Norris has established himself as certainly one of Formulation 1’s most spectacular front-runners – but it surely was a legend on two wheels who first ignited his ardour for racing. Right here, McLaren ace Norris explains why nine-time motorbike world champion Valentino Rossi is his icon…
Initially what received me into Valentino was simply his colors. I used to be in all probability solely five-years-old on the time, and while you’re at that age it’s exhausting to love something for a cause aside from it appeared cool!
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He had the blue-and-white Yamaha, together with his fluorescent yellow race gear, and he simply appeared like a cool man: in all of the interviews, with the Italian accent, the celebrations, all the pieces he did mainly.
That was after I was 5 – I didn’t even know what a go-kart was till I used to be seven – and that’s after I had a quad bike, after which I had a motorcross bike. It positively received me desirous about motorsport – I bear in mind watching stuff on what was Motors TV within the UK – and I cherished motorbikes.
Valentino had some wonderful battles and rivalries – the 2 greatest ones I can bear in mind have been when he battled Casey Stoner at Laguna Seca and overtook on the dust on the corkscrew.
The opposite one was him and Jorge Lorenzo, battling at Barcelona, after which Valentino overtook on the final nook… that was like one of many coolest moments ever!
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After I began competing myself Valentino impressed my helmet design. I gave it to a helmet designer and I used to be like ‘I really like Rossi!’ and he got here up with one which was black chrome and orange. Rossi had ‘the solar and the moon,’ mine was like ‘the solar and the solar,’ and it has been tailored and advanced a bit over time.
I by no means received to go to a MotoGP occasion after I was rising up however after I turned a Formulation 1 driver I used to be fortunate sufficient to go to the British Motorbike Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2021.
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It’s bizarre, I nonetheless bear in mind myself being so younger, watching Valentino on TV, and there he was competing – a bit like in Formulation 1 after I was watching Lewis Hamilton or Fernando Alonso racing and now I’m on the identical grid as them and racing towards them.
Assembly Valentino was actually cool, I used to be primarily there simply to fulfill him, and it was an honour. He was the man I appeared as much as and who received me into racing within the first place: who is aware of, possibly if I didn’t comply with Valentino, after which get into motorbikes, possibly I wouldn’t have gotten into motorsport, or possibly that curiosity would have been delayed.
We’ve stayed in contact since that assembly; I’ve a buddy, Thierry Vermeulen, who races within the GT World Problem Europe – which is the collection that Valentino has competed in since switching to motorsport full-time in 2022.
Valentino texted me congratulations after the rostrum in Singapore, and we nonetheless discuss every now and then.
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We’d like to do one thing collectively, it’s simply clearly after I’m busy then he’s not busy, after which after I’m not busy he’s busy! It’s fairly exhausting to do something now however positively sooner or later we’d like to do one thing collectively.
I’ve been in a position to be taught from Valentino too – to have enjoyable, and luxuriate in it. He’s all the time been the sort of man who enjoys all the pieces he does, and the extra passionate he’s about one thing the extra he enjoys it.
It’s a straightforward factor to say, ‘simply have enjoyable,’ however there’s sure issues you are able to do in sport to make it extra satisfying and have enjoyable – and he positively did that in his profession.
- McLaren’s Lando Norris on MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi
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