Valentino Rossi is known for his Drudi designed helmets. Always bright, often humorous and very noticeable on the grid, his new helmet paint schemes often mark significant moments in his career. Rossi is refusing to race at Motegi next month because of measurable levels of radiation, but if he did decide to join the competition, Good Spark Garage has a new helmet ready just for him.
In 2009, Rossi raced at Misano wearing a donkey-themed helmet bearing "The Donkey" where "The Doctor" would usually be found. When he crashed at Indy the race prior, he knew he'd made a stupid mistake. "I have the donkey on it because in Italy, if you make a stupid mistake we say that you are a donkey. As soon as I hit the ground at Indianapolis I thought what a donkey I was. Later I thought that would make a good helmet design for my home race. So, I may have lost 25 points but I solved the problem of the helmet design for Misano! I think it’s very funny.”
Good Spark Garage's Motegi helmet design uses colors inspired by Rossi's 2011 Sun Moon helmet. The design features a gas mask, helpful to ward off evil radiation, complete with Monster and AGV logos, and "Maschera di motegi" which means "Motegi Mask.
At first glance you might call him out for being a pussy for refusing to race, but risking your life racing motorcycles is one thing, exposing yourself to a possibly radioactive environment is another. There are also more than a few conflicting opinions regarding just how much radiation riders will be exposed to. Will it be no different than normal background radiation or will it be enough to cause serious health problems? As one of the world’s leading professional athletes, Rossi's body and health are things he can't afford to compromise. Personally, we wouldn’t be scared, but then we don’t earn $35 million a year due to our physical ability.