As we await news about his future in MotoGP, we have selected some of the best tattoos dedicated to the nine times world champion.

Eva Ferrero, Black Diamond Tattoo, Valencia, Spain
Eva Ferrero, Black Diamond Tattoo, Valencia, Spain

A lucky number
Let’s begin with the Kabbalah. Valentino Rossi has always raced (on every bike) under his favourite number: that number 46 which by now is practically an international brand. He has never turned his back on it, not even on the occasions (nine in all) when he has been world champion when he could have swapped it for the number 1 which usually identifies the highest ranking rider of the previous season. And the reason why? Because it was also the number of his dad Graziano Rossi who came third in the 250cc class in 1979 as well as winning two podium finishes in the 500cc of the following year. So it has been passed down from father to son.

Jumilla Olivares, Private Studio, Valencia, Spain
Jumilla Olivares, Private Studio, Valencia, Spain

A cult idol from Japan
But the ultimate idol of Valentino Rossi remains to day the great but little known Norifumi Abe. And who was he? An unfortunate Japanese rider who died in a road crash at only 32 years of age. Valentino was literally starstruck by the sheer talent of Abe (especially in a marvellous race as wild card in the 500 class in the Japanese GP in ’94), so much so that he asked for his autograph: besides continually rewatching the video of that famous Motegi race when Norifumi was in the lead until two laps from the finish when he had a spectacular fall. One of the few nicknames of the Italian champion is “Rossifumi” inspired by the much missed Abe.

Lazaros Brone, Ritual Tattoo, Athens, Greece
Lazaros Brone, Ritual Tattoo, Athens, Greece

Dispute with Fernando Alonso
At the turn of the third millennium, it is well known that Valentino Rossi test drove a Ferrari (in the sense of the F1 vehicle) with a view to a crossover from two to four wheels. Something which never actually happened. In 2006 the “Doctor” did especially well in a test session and he was praised by all who had witnessed that track performance. All but one: the racing driver Fernando Alonso. “Valentino in a Ferrari? I have to say he didn’t impress me all that much…”, is all the Spaniard had to say about it. But Rossi retaliated immediately, challenging Alonso to three different tests: F1, MotoGP and rally driving. A challenge petrolheads are still awaiting with bated breath.

Lubomir Hornak, Private Studio, Prague, Czech Republic
Lubomir Hornak, Private Studio, Prague, Czech Republic

A love for Rally driving
Not only Formula One, but also Rally driving is a big part of Valentino’s sporting life. The rider from Urbino has competed in three championship events with the following results: crashing out in Rally Great Britain in a Peugeot 206 WRC, coming eleventh at the Rally New Zealand 2006 in a Subaru Impreza, and a twelfth place in Rally Great Britain in 2008 with a Ford Focus. His only podium finishes were in the Monza Rally where Rossi was placed six times.

Marco Mastro, Tommasi Tattoo Studio, Torino, Italy
Marco Mastro, Tommasi Tattoo Studio, Torino, Italy

A real… Dottore!
Valentino Rossi is not just a “Doctor” for fans and media, but actually did get a degree under Italian law. It was on May 31st in fact that he was granted a degree honoris causa in “Communications and Publicity of Organisations” by the university Università degli Studi di Urbino, his home town. To the joy of his mother Stefania who had always dreamed of her son getting the precious “piece of paper”.