For the first time since 2000, the MotoGP season started without Valentino lining up on the premier class grid. Instead of throwing his leg over a Yamaha this year, The Doctor recently welcomed his newborn baby girl while he prepares for the 2022 GT World Challenge Europe with Belgium’s W Racing Team (WRT).
As Vale approaches his car racing debut, his long-time helmet designer Aldo Drudi revealed the 43-year-old driver’s new lid design for the 2022 season. Despite WRT’s gray and fluorescent red Audi livery, Rossi will continue sporting the Yamaha-inspired blue, light blue, and yellow color scheme. Along with the new helmet unveiling, Drudi explained the story behind The Doctor’s trademark Vale Yellow color.
“Valentino raced in the minibikes with the helmet of Kevin Schwantz who was my rider, I also designed the world champion helmet,” noted Drudi. “If you remember behind that helmet there was a fluorescent yellow flash, the fluorescent colors had exploded in those years.”
In the past, Rossi has frequently cited Kevin Schwantz as one of his favorite riders. Drudi’s story only drives home that fact, but the story also shows Vale fans just how far back the signature yellow dates back. As number 46 moved his way up the European and Grand Prix ranks, he kept the fluorescent yellow branding regardless of the team and manufacturer.
“Always the fluo,” added Drudi. “He even, if you remember, the first year of 500, he had a Honda livery that I had designed with a normal yellow but Valentino wanted fluorescent on the suit and helmet, as you can see in the photos. It's a bit of the same problem that exists this year on the VR46 bike with two different yellows.”
While Vale no longer races in MotoGP, his VR46 team carries on his legacy while bearing the racer’s trademark yellow hue. The Doctor may drive for the WRT team now, but his fluorescent yellow 46 overshadows the team livery. Rossi is out of Grand Prix racing, but some things never change.