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Happy birthday, Valentino !
Rossi turns 30 today
Valentino Rossi turns 30 today, 16th February 2009.

The Fiat Yamaha rider has had an immensely successful career to date, winning eight world championships, 97 races and becoming the most successful premier-class rider of all time.

As
he enters his 14th season in the world championship, his sixth with Yamaha, he is still the dominating force in the sport, having recaptured the title in typically exciting style last season.

Below is a collection of quotes from colleagues, fellow riders, family and a few of his more famous fans. Some are recollections of favourite moments with Valentino, whilst some are simply messages for him on the day he turns 30. All are different ways of saying ‘Happy Birthday, Valentino!'

STEFANIA PALMA (MOTHER)
"I have thought about what to tell you through the media for your 30th birthday... I could have dealt with sun, stars, mountains, love and happiness... but I feel it is more right to say, simply... HAPPY BIRTHDAY!"

GRAZIANO ROSSI (FATHER)
"Simply... I would like to wish him to get to 40 without growing up anymore and then after 40... let's see!"

UCCIO SALUCCI (BEST FRIEND)
"I hope that for the next 30 years Vale will be as fast as he has been in the previous 30 and that he gives us more passes and excitement like we had at Laguna Seca 2008. 30 more Corkscrews, Vale!"

DAVIDE BRIVIO (FIAT YAMAHA TEAM MANAGER)
"I don't really have a favourite memory of Valentino, or at least it's difficult to choose the ‘absolute best!' The first one that comes to mind however is just after the Welkom race in 2004, his famous first MotoGP race with Yamaha.
Before Valentino finally joined Yamaha, during one of the meetings the previous September, he said that he wanted to win his first race with Yamaha! This immediately created a lot of pressure for me and for Yamaha, but anyway I promised him that we would all try all our best. Honestly at that time I felt that it was going to be a very difficult thing to achieve! During the final few pre-season tests the chances of doing it began to look better and better, but in a race itself anything can happen. Incredibly, he won that race in Welkom and just after it, after the technical meeting had finished, we were alone in his changing room. Somebody had left a bottle of wine in the fridge and we opened it and raised a toast to that day way back in September, when he had first said that he wanted to win this race. "We did it!" I said to him. It was a very emotional moment for me because it was the moment we achieved our very first target together. Happy Birthday!"

CESARE CREMONINI (SINGER AND FRIEND)
"Vale is a fighter, but armed with a smile. I've never seen him lose his humanity, even in the most difficult moments. One time I found him making gags and jokes as if he was at home with friends, when in fact he had just a couple of minutes to go before a decisive race. While he was putting on his leathers, ready to go out and challenge the world, he transmitted a joy for life, listening to a song on his ipod. "Ciao Ragazzi! See you later!&quo t; He said. Then came a sweeping victory at the limits of possibility and a long night of partying together! Happy Birthday, Vale!"

TOM CRUISE (ACTOR AND ROSSI FAN)
"Valentino, You are a true champion. You keep raising the bar, relentlessly pursuing the next race, the next challenge, the next championship. I also know that the victories don't necessarily become easier. You have to dig deeper, work even harder, become more focused to overcome the distractions. That's what you do. And I, like countless others, know that when you're on that track anything is possible. It was my great pleasure to be there at Laguna Seca and see you take that victory. I can honestly say I've never seen anything like it! You certainly don't disappoint! Thank you for all the great races you have given us, and for all the great races yet to come. Happy Birthday."

ALDO DRUDI (DESIGNER AND FRIEND)
"Cattolica, August 1996, 2pm, very hot. I'm travelling by motorbike on a deserted road towards the sea, when a small and colourful outline appears from an intersection ahead, going very fast. A young boy on a scooter ‘closes' the corner, accentuates the bend, runs around the pavement, straightens up and pulls a wheelie... he holds the wheelie on the aqua-green Zip for more than 200 metres, still on the gas. I accelerate and catc h him up. The boy lets go of the left handlebar and lifts the left hand in a sign of victory. I recognise him and follow him. Finally he lowers the wheel and with his feet on the footrests he throws embraces and salutes all around the road to his imaginary fans. He notices me, right beside him, and smiles. Happy Birthday Vale!"

COLIN EDWARDS (TEAM-MATE 2005/06/07 AND NOW TECH 3 YAMAHA RIDER)
"I have a few fond memories of Vale starting from 2000. Our 2002 victory at the Suzuka 8-Hour was something special, but I'd have to say my one memory that stands out is Laguna 2005. Basically, we were both healthy and fighting for every inch. I did have a slight advantage knowing the track since 1992. As I can recall, it was the first time we were together on track racing close; as most would confirm, he was usually ten seconds in front of me leading by this point in the race! Then he mounted a charge on the last two laps that came up just short...I was happy we didn't have one more lap! Haha!!!! It's not really a memory that I beat him, it's more of a memory of racing side by side with what I consider "The Goat", which translates as The Greatest Of All Time. Happy birthday, you old man!"

CARMELO EZPELETA (CEO, DORNA SPORTS)
"My favourite "Valentino moment" is remembering the unique human quality that he showed after his battle with Nicky Hayden for the 2006 MotoGP Championship. It is very easy to behave like a champion when you win, but Rossi's attitude after losing was admirable and impressive."
LIN JARVIS (MANAGING DIRECTOR, YAMAHA MOTOR RACING)
"It's difficult to think of a single moment but I guess one of the most memorable moments was during the 2003 season when Valentino had his first meeting with the Yamaha YZR-M1. We had started our secret discussions earlier that year for a po ssible future move to Yamaha. Vale said he wanted to have a real look at the Yamaha M1 bike so we agreed to organize a secret rendezvous in the paddock at the Donington GP. To keep it secret we arranged to meet on Saturday night in the Yamaha Factory Team pit box. After midnight Vale arrived in a dark parka jacket with the hood up. He looked like a burglar coming to steal our stuff! Once inside he greeted everybody there and introduced himself and then took his time to look at Carlos Checa's M1 from every angle before asking our permission if he could sit on the bike. We were so surprised by his humility and modesty and even more surprised when he paid a complement to us by stating that it was "not so bad" after all. His attitude on that first night time meeting said a lot about the man. Since then I have seen a hundred more examples... Happy Birthday, Vale!"

JORGE LORENZO (FIAT YAMAHATEAM-MATE, 2008/09)
"I want to say Happy Birthday to my team-mate Valentino. It is great for me to be racing with a legend like him, but maybe now he's 30 he might slow down a little bit!"

CARLO PERNAT (JOURNALIST AND FRIEND)
"How could I not love you, Valentino? The champions know exactly what they have to do, instinctively. I remember in 1997, when we were making your first TV advert. You had to endure a day with a fussy and long-winded director, who couldn't finish and had to adjourn until the next day. You left and, with your friend Uccio you called to warn that you were already home at your house, and where you were staying also the next day! Straugurissimi, Legend!"

WAYNE RAINEY (WORLD CHAMPION WITH YAMAHA 1990/91/92)
“Happy 30th birthday Valentino! I love to watch when the odds are against you, the battle is on. Your passion to win is visible and I respect that very much. 30 years old...life is just beginning for you!"

JAMES TOSELAND (TECH 3 YAMAHA RIDER)
"30 is a big milestone for a racer because, even though you're not really old as a person, you're starting to be one of the older ones in professional racing and you start to feel that you can't go on forever! I don't think it's a problem for Valentino however, he seems to still feel 25 so as long as that continues he'll be just fine! Happy Bir thday and have a great party!"



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