Australian Formula One car driver Daniel Ricciardo says he has admiration for the mental and physical strength that MotoGP star Valentino Rossi shows as he continues to win races and be at the top of his sport for 21 years.
Italy’s Rossi claimed his 115th Grand Prix victory last month in Assen which stretched his winning record to 21 years since his maiden world championship win in the 125cc class at the 1996 Czech Republic Grand Prix.
Ricciardo, who recently turned 28, says he’s blown away by the 38-year-old Rossi’s resilience and skill to continue to compete at the top level for over two decades taking on both the physical and mental challenges that come with MotoGP and being a sporting icon.
“He’s 10 years older than me, and someone told me that the span between his first win and his most recent one at Assen (the same day we raced at Baku) was nearly 21 years.” Ricciardo wrote on his Red Bull column. “The winning – and he’s clearly done heaps of that – is one thing, but he’s an inspiration even just from a physical standpoint.
“MotoGP is such a physical sport (not to mention the injuries you put up with), so for him to still be doing it the way he is and to be right up near the front in the championship again – it’s pretty remarkable.
“Mentally, he clearly hasn’t been ground down by the travel, the off the bike stuff, the commitments outside of racing, and that’s almost as impressive.
“With Valentino, what amazes me is that I know the commitments I have and how busy life can be, and if you multiplied that by 50 (or probably more), that’s him. Combine that with the physical side and how he’s racing against guys a generation younger than him and he’s still right up there, he just amazes me.
“For me, when the day comes one day (hopefully not for a fair while!) that I stop, I reckon it’ll be the fatigue with the whole circus and wanting to lay low for a bit and not see an airport that would be more of a factor than physical fatigue or losing that thrill of competition or driving these cars.”
Photo courtesy Yamaha Europe
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