We all know what it looks like when Valentino Rossi climbs aboard one of the lightest, most powerful, fastest motorcycles in the world, but what can he do with the kind of bike typically ridden by mere mortals like you and I? While putting in his first laps of Silverstone in preparation for the British GP on June 10-12, the Superbike Rossi was supposed to ride was sidelined with electrical issues, so this stock Ducati 1198 was called in, complete with lights, mirrors, numberplate and street tires.
“I really had fun,” stated Rossi. “After a few laps with the 1198 Superbike, we had a problem with the electronics and decided to use the 1198 street bike that Ducati’s UK affiliate rushed to us. I really liked riding that bike here. The track is nice—difficult and very technical. It makes you work hard because there are very fast sections where having the right trajectory is important, and others that are very narrow where you have to have good grip under acceleration. The first turn is completely blind, and you must hold a very precise line, and in general the entire first section is really great, definitely the part I like most. In short, I enjoyed it, especially because there were many drivers and riders who have great histories in motorsports, like John Surtees, who told me that he raced here in the ’50s. I wasn’t following racing then, but he was great.”