Gear / Parts Valentino Rossi rides with a donkey

Valentino Rossi rides with a donkey

Valentino Rossi can remove the donkey from his helmet after galloping to victory from pole in the San Marino Grand Prix on Sept. 6 at Misano Adriatico, Italy. Six-time MotoGP World Champion Rossi beat Fiat Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo, winner of the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 30 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, by 2.416 seconds. Dani Pedrosa finished third on his Repsol Honda Team machine.

Rossi expanded his lead to 30 points over Lorenzo with four races remaining. "Since Indianapolis, when I made that mistake, we have been so focused and concentrated, and everyone deserves this result," Rossi said. "I was the ‘flying donkey’ today!"

Rossi traditionally picks a special helmet design for the two Italian rounds in MotoGP, and he placed a large donkey face from the movie "Shrek" on his helmet for this event because he was embarrassed about crashing out of the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 30 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"I have the donkey on it because in Italy, if you make a stupid mistake we say that you are a donkey," Rossi said. "As soon as I hit the ground at Indianapolis, I thought what a donkey I was."

Rossi was perfect at his home event, as he grew up about 5 miles from the Misano circuit. He dropped from pole to third on the first lap, which included a pileup triggered by San Marino native Alex de Angelis that took out Americans Colin Edwards and Nicky Hayden.

Pedrosa and Toni Elias dueled for the lead in the early laps, but Rossi passed Lorenzo and Elias for second on Lap 5. On the next lap, he passed Pedrosa and began to pull away, creating too large of a gap for Lorenzo to bridge once he passed Pedrosa for second.

Edwards and Hayden qualified fifth and sixth, respectively. But neither could fulfill that promising qualifying pace into a strong race result due to an over-optimistic late-braking maneuver on the first lap by de Angelis, who finished second Aug. 30 at Indianapolis.

De Angelis’ San Carlo Honda Gresini machine pile-drove into the left side of Edwards’ Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine in the left-handed Turn 2, sending both tumbling into the gravel. Edwards’ sprawling machine then clipped the rear wheel of Hayden’s Ducati, also dropping Hayden into the gravel.

"We are in Italy, and occasionally you have to deal with an Italian rider who wants to be a hero, and today that was de Angelis," Edwards said. "Turn 1 at the start with 17 bikes is not the place to be going at race pace, and he was never going to make through there. Today de Angelis is the guy who needed to be wearing Valentino’s donkey helmet."

See: Donkey Helmet Pictures

The next event is the Grand Prix of Portugal on Oct. 4 at Estoril.

2022 Triumph Bonneville Bobber First Look (11 Fast Facts)

The 2022 Triumph Bonneville Bobber enjoys a wide range of updates that include functional and aesthetic. The changes are, in part, to meet Euro...

2021 MV Agusta Dragster RR SCS RC First Look (9 Fast Facts)

The 2021 MV Agusta Dragster RR SCS RC is the new flagship of the urban-brawling Dragster lineup. The RC stands for Reparto Corse, and...

2022 Triumph Bonneville T100 First Look (9 Fast Facts)

The Triumph Bonneville T100 gets a more powerful and higher-revving motor for 2022,  along with a lighter chassis and upgraded suspension as the British...

2022 Triumph Street Twin First Look (7 Fast Facts)

The best-selling Triumph Street Twin is back with motor changes to meet Euro 5 standards, upgraded styling, and a classy new variant. Let’s take...

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250: 150 HP ADV [17 Fast Facts]

Harley-Davidson officially unveiled Monday its all-new adventure touring motorcycles, the 2021 Pan America 1250 and Pan America 1250 Special. The Motor Company released all the...

Story of Warner Riley’s 200+ MPH Run Aboard a Sportster 50 Years Ago!

50 years ago Warner Riley began working toward having the World’s Fastest Conventional Motorcycle. With help from S&S Cycle in Wisconsin, topping 200 mph...