Nine-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi was quite the busy bee over the weekend. First, he went out and took care of business, albeit controversially, by winning the Assen Grand Prix and extending his lead in the world championship race. But as soon as the race ended, Rossi immediately boarded a plane and headed to the UK to attend the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Believe it or not, it was actually Rossi’s first-ever appearance at the event. Think of that how you will, but the important thing is that his debut appearance came at the same time as Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd’s 60th anniversary. Either way, Rossi picked the right time to come as the event drew a star-studded lineup that included a day’s worth of VIPs, celebrities, and athletes.

Yamaha even dressed for its celebration, or at least dressed up Rossi’s Yamaha YZF-
M1 in a special yellow livery that commemorates the company’s 60th anniversary.

Ardent fans of Yamaha will likely recognize the color and livery of the bike as similar to the one Yamaha brought in 2005 when the company was celebrating its 50th anniversary at Laguna Seca. The suited up YZF-M1 was even accompanied in the Yamaha display area with other iconic Yamahas, including Phil Read’s 1965 RD56, Giacomo Agostini’s 1975 YZR500 OW23 and Kenny Roberts’s 1978 YZR750 OW31.

All in all, Rossi seemed to enjoy his first appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. He got to meet some of his peers in the racing world. He got to ride his YZF-M1 around the Goodwood course. Heck, he even managed to get behind the wheel of a Le Mans winning race car and a rally car.

I’d say that’s a weekend well-spent for the Doctor.

Continue reading to read more about Valentino Rossi’s first appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Why it matters

You have to give it to Valentino Rossi for honoring his commitment to attend the Goodwood Festival of Speed even though he had every excuse in the world to skip it.

But that’s why Rossi is considered one of the most popular motorcycle riders in history. He was invited by no less than Lord March to attend the festival and there he was.

Then again, Yamaha might have made him to it anyway since the company was celebrating its 60th anniversary during the event. It would seem a bit weird if the company was toasting its 60 years of existence and its most recognizable athlete isn’t even in attendance. But hey, Rossi showed up and he seemed to enjoy himself pretty well for someone who has actually never been to the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

All in all, it was a pretty exciting weekend for everyone who showed up at the event. Then again, that’s what you can always expect from an event like the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Who knows, Rossi and the the MotoGP crew might even make it an annual gathering. Schedule permitting, of course.

Kirby Garlitos
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Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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Press Release

Valentino Rossi shone as a special guest at the 23rd edition of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. celebrated its 60th anniversary.

After a stunning race at the TT Assen Circuit where Rossi won his third race this season after starting from pole position, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider made his first-ever appearance at the prestigious Goodwood Festival of Speed. This year’s festival carried a theme of nostalgia and pride in the growing interest in motorsport, as Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. took the occasion to celebrate its 60th anniversary.

Valentino Rossi at 2015 Goodwood Festival of SpeedThe nine-time World Champion, with 111 career victories, was specially invited by Lord March to make his debut at this famous event as a guest star. Rossi traveled straight from the Dutch GP to the UK to be able to attend the event, where he was accompanied by Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. Executive Vice President, Takaaki Kimura, Yamaha Motor Europe N.V President, Kazuhiro Kuwata, YMC Motorsports Division’s General Manager, Kouichi Tsuji and Yamaha Motor Racing Managing Director, Lin Jarvis.

They had the pleasure of joining a star-studded guest list including numerous famous sportsmen, celebrities and VIPs, for a gala dinner and ball on Saturday evening at Lord March’s grand estate, before the action started the morning after.

Sunday kicked off with Rossi, Lord March, Kimura-san, Kuwata-san, Tsuji-san and Jarvis revealing The Doctor’s Yamaha YZR-M1, equipped with a special livery, in Yamaha’s display area in the F1 Paddock. The yellow and retro styled bike commemorates Yamaha Motor’s 60th anniversary and the ceremony was completed by motorsport legends Kenny Roberts, Giacomo Agostini and Phil Read taking part in this celebration of Yamaha’s supreme racing heritage.

Rossi’s yellow bike was in good company at the Yamaha exhibition; other iconic show bikes on display were Phil Read’s 1965 RD56, Giacomo Agostini’s 1975 YZR500 OW23 and Kenny Roberts’s 1978 YZR750 OW31.

The unveiling of Rossi’s bike was followed by the Doctor delighting thousands of spectators when he rode up and down the 1.16-mile Hillclimb in the yellow livery at 11:40 a.m. The special color scheme of his YZR-M1 was similar to the one he and Colin Edwards sported ten years ago when they marked Yamaha’s 50th anniversary at the Raceway Laguna Seca with a double podium.

After the thrilling ride, involving a 300 foot rise, there was more excitement waiting. Rossi was interviewed by Goodwood TV on the balcony of Lord March’s mansion before joining the host and Formula 1 rider Nico Rosberg for lunch.

The Italian concluded his first Goodwood experience by honoring this year’s theme of the Goodwood event, ‘Flat-Out and Fearless: Racing on the Edge.’ He fully enjoyed riding in a historical Le Mans-winner as well as a rally car, before heading home to prepare himself for the Grand Prix in Germany, to be held in two weeks’ time.

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