Fastest (2011) Script

What's gonna happen when the red lights go out at 2:00 in the afternoon?

MotoGP race time.

In the next 45 minutes, 25 laps, 70 miles.

Wheel to wheel, side by side at 200 miles an hour.

What's gonna happen?

On a good day, the answer doesn't come until the very end.

The race is a battle to the finish line.

June 15th, 2009 was a very good day.

The Catalan Grand Prix, two laps to go.

Thirty-year-old Italian multiple MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi, against his 21-year-old Spanish teammate, Jorge Lorenzo.

"Teammate" is a misleading term.

They are bitter rivals in the same colors on the same bikes.

Rossi is used to being number one.

Lorenzo wants to be.

Lorenzo has won two of the five races so far this season, the champion only one.

Now, Rossi faces losing to Lorenzo in front of the Spaniard's home crowd and losing another five points to him in the championship.

Victory would put Rossi level on points.

More importantly, it would put Lorenzo in his place, at least for the time being.

A hundred thousand fans are watching the battle around the track, millions more on TV around the world.

Here he comes, down the straight, Jorge Lorenzo's gonna go through, and he's gone through Valentino Rossi.

Lorenzo brakes, closes the door.

Very smart move, fairing to fairing in the chicane.

He's trying to get past. Jorge won't let him.

Final lap. Lorenzo in front, Rossi behind.

Attention, attention. They've been together all race long.

Of all those watching, nobody knows better than Rossi's own team where his last chances to overtake are.

Faster, faster, faster here!

Go, go! More, more faster!

Rossi's best chance is in the next few corners.

From Turn 10 onwards it's all but impossible.

Haifa lap to go here at Barcelona-

Jorge's beating him hand to hand.

It's crazy, he'll be leading the championship.

Go Valentino, go! Head to head.

Lorenzo's carrying a lot of speed out of Turn 9.

There's no way through there.

Oh, mamma mia! Mamma mia! Mamma mia!

On the inside, Jorge's really got him.

Three corners to win the Catalan Grand Prix.

He said to me before this weekend, if you go into these corners first, you know you're gonna win the race.

Almost impossible. Very, very difficult. Lorenzo ahead, Rossi behind.

There's no room here.

When Jorge closed the door on me in Turn 9, I say, "Fuck, I have to try in the last corner."

But I don't know if I crash.

And I hope, if I crash, we crash together. Not alone.

And from that moment, I tried to stay very, very, very close to him.

And I know I have a small chance on the last corner.

It is strange because I thought, "Okay, if I can be the maximum fast, "the maximum quick I can be in the last two corners, "he can't overtake me."

I just ride to go fast, so some part of me thought, "Okay, Valentino is going to try."

So, I didn't want to close more, because Valentino is...

He's going to try the same. So, maybe we could crash.

And another part of me thought, "Valentino is not going to try, "it's impossible to pass there."

The surprise was the important thing, because also Jorge don't expect.

When we arrived to the last corner, I said, "I have to brake a little bit later than him, but not too much."

So, when he brake, I brake a bit later, like five, six meters later, and I try to put my bike at 180 kilometers an hour in 35 centimeters.

And I say, "Maybe now I crash."

At the maximum braking, when I go to the apex, I feel the front go away.

And I say, "Please, don't slide more because we crash."

But the front stayed.

The Bridgestone front tire is a great tire.

What a race. He's got one corner left. He's going for the inside.

And Rossi, he manages something in the final corner.

I don't believe it. I can't believe it.

He's done it. I can't believe it.

It's impossible. Bravo!

And we arrived on the finish line like this, but a little bit in front.

And it was a great emotion.

What a race. What a pass.

How did he do it? Rossi's done it.

Valentino Rossi is one of the most incredible riders...

I make a really good race-

The only mistake I made was in the last corner.

You always have something to learn every day in racing.


They come and they go.

And they go as fast as they possibly can.

For over 60 years, the fastest motorcycle racers in the world have dreamed the same dream.

To win at the highest level.

The Grand Prix World Championship.

Most of them last a few seasons.

A rare few, a decade or more.

And some, just a few races.

Most walk away. Some do not.

Safer now than it was, but how can it ever be safe?

Wheel to wheel at 200 miles an hour on a motorcycle.

People die doing this.

But most of them live.

Really live.

Over 750 riders since 1949, all brave, all fast, and almost all destined to fail at the ultimate challenge.

In 60 years, only 24 riders have won the premier class world championship.

Of them, a few won multiple titles.

And at the very summit of the sport stand just two men who have won the title more than five times each, Giacomo Agostini, who raced in the '60s and the '70s and took the premier class crown eight times.

And Valentino Rossi, on his way to his seventh title in 2009.

How many more races?

How many more championships can he win?

Is he the greatest of all time? Time will tell.

But for every year that you push your bike and your body to the limit, you push your luck to the limit, as well.

You can't be the fastest forever.

And when the red lights go out, nobody's looking back.

The past is behind you.

And there's only one question.

Who's fastest now?

I like to ride motorcycles- I enjoy a lot-

I go in the best circuit in the world with the best bike in the world, try to go as fast as possible.

Until I have this taste and this passion for riding motorcycles, why I have to stay at home?

Rossi won six of the 18 Grand Prixs in 2009, Lorenzo, four.

Another world championship for the Italian and a step closer for Lorenzo, who finished second.

Valentino has won a lot of world titles.

And Valentino has done a lot of things for the motorcycle sport.

So, you must have a lot of respect for him.

But for me, he is not a god.

If you work really hard, if your technique is extremely good, then you can beat him.

As important as winning races, is not crashing out of them.

In 2009, Rossi failed to finish only once, at Indianapolis.

At the next Grand Prix in San Marino, his home race, he mocked his stupid-ass mistake at Indy with a special helmet design and a victory celebration to go with it.

Lorenzo crashed out of four races in 2009.

There goes up to 100 points in the championship.

You can't afford to crash, and you can't afford to get hurt.

But both are inevitable.

Where do MotoGP riders go in the winter?

Onto the dirt for fun, and they say, for fitness.

Training in motocross is very important.

For physical, for mental, it's very important.

And motocross is very fun, I like a lot motocross.

Valentino will not race motocross anymore.

I have big, big pressure from my father that say always, "No, you don't go with motocross.

"You're stupid. It's too dangerous."

I think a lot of MotoGP riders have injury with motocross.

Because we have the mind to go fast, but we don't have the technique.

Motocross is very dangerous for the jumps, it's more dangerous for the bumps.

When we crash with MotoGP on the asphalt, you slide.

Sometimes in motocross in the mud, you crash and you stop.

2010, the French Grand Prix, third race of the season.

Valentino Rossi is walking wounded.

He injured his shoulder in a motocross crash in Italy a few days after winning the first MotoGP race in Qatar.

Valentino understands with this accident that motocross is not the right way to drive the bike.

I have a small crack to the bone, here, but I think now the bone is okay, because it's more than one month.

Jorge Lorenzo finished second in Qatar, riding with a broken thumb after a pre-season crash on a dirt bike.

He won the next race in Spain, ahead of his compatriot and archrival, Dani Pedrosa.

Touching in the last corner and beating him in the last lap has been 100% adrenaline.

Lorenzo then staged a post-race celebration to rival Rossi's own theatrics.

At Le Mans, MotoGP rookie Alvaro Bautista is also walking wounded after a motocross accident a week earlier.

When I crashed, I thought, "Okay, I broke."

I'm here because I think I can try to ride. No?

Bautista had a compound fracture of his left clavicle operated on a week ago.

He also had thoracic bruising and broken ribs.

He wants to ride, and that is quite incredible.

Bautista is one of six MotoGP rookies in 2010.

They may be new to MotoGP, but they're not new to each other.

They've raced each other for years in the junior MotoGP categories.

Bautista and fellow Spaniard, Héctor Barberé have some history with the Italian, Marco Simoncelli.

I like a lot when there is a physical fight in the last lap, to try to win the race.

You fight with the other rider, you touch.

During the race, you want to kill the other rider, but after the race, you give him the hand, and you go to drink a beer together.

Okay, you are fighting and you want to pass bad.

I think he is different, because he's very ready to hit you.

Every time something happens, they come to the race direction, and they say, "Simoncelli touched me.

"You have to disqualify him."

And for me, it's not the true spirit of the motorcycle race.

For me, it's normal.

And also, if you see, Lorenzo and Pedrosa in the last race touched, but nobody say nothing.

Simoncelli sometimes is very hard.

I am his friend, so with me, he is more soft.

But especially with Bautista, Barbera, always hard, hard fight.

But he says they are girls.


The rookies have graduated from 150 mile-an-hour lightweight machines to 170 mile-an-hour middleweights.

Now, it's time to go racing on 210 mile-an-hour MotoGP bikes.

There are no better riders than the men they are up against, and there are no faster bikes. This is it.

The beginning of the season, it was quite difficult.

In Malaysia, I crashed, I had a big crash.

It was a very strange crash, because entering the corner, I lose the front of my bike and with the leg, I pick up the bike for some meters, but after, the bike retake the grip, and I had a very bad high side.

After that moment, I don't remember very well what happened.

I am afraid when I crash and I understand that I can do nothing.

So, in this moment, I am a little bit afraid, not little bit afraid.

The sixth MotoGP rookie is American Ben Spies.

Unlike the others, he's come from the world of superbike racing and has the most to learn in MotoGP.

The Grand Prix tracks, riders and machines are all new to him.

On the other side of the track, Bautista has an even worse high side crash, where the rear wheel slides sideways, and then regains grip and flicks the rider into the air.

Meanwhile, Simoncelli experiences the much preferred low side fall, where the front wheel slides out and the rider drops just a few inches to the ground.

The rider has decided not to ride in Le Mans and be ready for the next race in Mugello.

Ben Spies had a big fall with bruising to his foot and dislocation of the ankle.

If all goes well, and he has the heart I saw today, he will do the race.

Pedrosa, two quick laps on the mount, puts a 10th of a second into Valentino Rossi, who's second, Stoner, who's now third.

To the last lap for Jorge Lorenzo.

Still, it's Valentino Rossi with just a five-hundredth of-a-second advantage on the pole position, ahead of Jorge Lorenzo.

Here's Casey Stoner, 2007 World Champion.

It's gonna be touch and go whether Casey gets on the front row.

I don't think he's gonna be able to get on the front row.

I can't see it. No way. I can't see it either.

Pole. It's the first pole of 2010. It's Valentino Rossi.

Didn't think he'd be able to do that at the beginning of the session, Julian.

He was quite a way back.

But how many times have we been fooled by Valentino Rossi?

"Giacomo, watch out, just 18 races left. "

"Thank you, Stefania," who is mum.

That's a very Italian sort of thing, a thank you to the mother.

Valentino is a student of history, he knows very well, and he knows he's within range of Agostini's records.

He wants to say, "I won the most Grand Prixs ever."

He's on 104 at the moment here in late May, 2010.

He's got 123 to get to beatAgostini's 122.

Valentino is now 31, and he's having to dig very deep indeed to fight off these youngsters, who are immune to his mind games.

Rossi is still the king.

We're looking for the person who is going to depose him.

On Sunday, one of the worst parts is the nerves you feel.

There is something important that is gonna happen.

I hate this feeling.

Meditation helped me a lot, I just turn on the sunglasses and I hear my music and I just close my eyes and relax.

Like Bruce Lee, no?

Be water, my friend I always feel a personal connection with the bike, because I think the bike has a soul.

I always make a personal feeling together.

I always speak with the bike.

When the bike arrive in January, it is like with a girlfriend.

MotoGP is a team sport. But when you start for the race, for the crucial moment, you are alone with your bike.

When you are on the track, you have to be flowing, and you have to be enjoying the moment.

Be water, my friend.

You go for the finish line, and you try to be the fastest.

And it seems a little bit stupid, 20 riders making the same way, lap by lap.

But this simple thing is very complicated.

It's very important to be faster, but also to be clever, quiet and don't feel a lot of the pressure.

I think motorcycle racing is more fun, because with motorcycles, it's more a battle sport with the other guys.

I follow the philosophy of thinking outside the race.

But when you are on the bike, when you are riding, it's better not to think and to act with your instincts.

If you're always thinking about your competitors, you don't put your limit higher and higher.

Today, if I have to be honest, it was easier than I expected.

It is very important for me, because it gives me the confidence that I can win two races in a row.

It seems that he is always happy, because he is a really good actor.

He knows how to create this good feeling with the people, with the people who are looking at the TV.

But every human has bad moments in his life, and for sure, he was not very comfortable when he had been defeated two races in a row with me in the same bike.

So for sure, he goes into the Mugello Grand Prix with some pressure.

Young people are coming, but how close we are from Valentino, we don't know.

We will know at the end of the year.

After six seasons in the smaller MotoGP classes and double 250cc World Championships, Jorge Lorenzo moved up to the premier class in 2008.

His debut was nothing less than astonishing.

A seven-race odyssey from heaven to hell.

I made pole position in the first race of my life in MotoGP.

I finished second in the race.

I repeated with the pole position in the second race.

I finished third.

And I won the third race, also in the pole position.

For me, it was so easy and I was beating all the riders in my first year.

I didn't understand why it's so easy.

The China Grand Prix, I didn't get a good pace suddenly, no?

So, I feel that I must push.

It was a terrific crash. I broke two ankles.

The day after, I finished fourth in the practice.

The day after, I also finished fourth in the race.

I crashed during the practice on Le Mans, the next race after China.

I crashed, but I didn't fail this race. I finished second.

But when I crashed in Montmelo, I got unconscious.

Like a boxer, when... Yeah.

I didn't remember anything.

Then I realized what I was doing.

I realized that if I continued like that, maybe I can die.

So then it comes,

the fear.

Some riders, after big crashes, they get this fear of the bike and they never go fast again.

And they must retire. Some others...

Maybe I am of this other, take this disadvantage and make this an advantage.

He was in here with concussion for almost a week.

It scared him a bit.

All of us feel fear. The thing is to overcome it.

Lorenzo had another huge crash at the US Grand Prix.

He came back to take two podium finishes in the second half of the season, and finished his first year in MotoGP in fourth position.

Here, motorcycles are more important than football.

Here, motorcycles are number one.

We were hoping for a great rider, and we got the greatest.

The miracle of Valentino.

Valentino and his motorcycle flying towards the stars.

He was tiny when he first came here, and he collected Japanese toy figurines.

He always loved Japanese things.

He was not a normal child.

At three, he was riding bikes with Graziano.

Not normal.

Valentino could have done something else.

But his father led him to it when he was four years old.

I didn't push him, you understand?

This happened without saying.

He was the despair of the police.

When he races, we all dream. When he races, everything changes.

I love watching the races.

I had a Lambretta motorcycle.

Number 46, from my father.

The first race he won, he had 46, in '79, the year I was born so I don't change, because all the people know me for the 46.

And it's easy. If you switch on the television and see, "Ah! 46, Rossi!"

My phone number is 90-12-46.

Valentino is and always will be a humble person from Tavullia, like us.

Except he's a bit special.

We had it specially printed in Milan.

And we told Valentino, "You have to unroll it. "

He said, "How long is it?" Twenty-five meters.

He said, "So long!" We said, "Don't win so much! "

The most special was the first podium when he was very small.

He's pulling away ! Victory at last for Valentino Rossi!

Whoa! And he almost swipes the wall in his delight!

That was the moment we knew he was a real racer.

It is fantastic for me! I tried to push very hard.

Push very hard, pushed very hard. It was very funny. And I win.

Ipushed. Win the championship with a victory.

I pushed very hard. We made a very hard fight.

I pushed and I pushed and I pushed. It's very good.

I'm the second rider in history to arrive at 100 with Giacomo Agostini.

I'm so happy, but I hope to have some other season for increasing the number, and for a fight with the other guys.

Thanks a lot to everybody.

All his races are beautiful.

Especially Welkom when he beat Biaggi.

The first year that he rode the Yamaha which Biaggi said was no good.

In 2003, Rossi's archrival, Max Biaggi, left Yamaha for Honda, saying that the Yamaha was no good and that he needed a Honda like Rossi's to win.

Rossi was invincible on the Honda, taking three world championships in a row.

In 2003, he and the other Honda riders won 15 of the 16 races.

Loris Capirossi won the 16th on a Ducati.

Biaggi had a point.

Honda was the most competitive bike.

It was the team where everybody wanted to be.

And, we as Yamaha, especially during 2003, we had a very difficult time.

I started to manage the MotoGP in 2003.

But our bike and our organization, everything's very bad.

As a factory team, we didn't achieve one single podium.

So we've never been a top three in any race.

So it was a very tough year, even more tough was trying to convince Valentino to join that manufacturer.

I am here to say thank you very much to Honda and to say also, unfortunately, next year we don't race together.

A fantastic period for me, three world championships.

Maybe making this choice at this point is a little bit crazy.

I thought it was a joke.

But he had some trouble with the previous manufacturer.

Rossi was winning world championships and earning tens of millions of dollars at Honda.

But he felt like a prisoner, the prisoner of a company which held the bike to be more important than the rider.

The prisoner of PR obligations and corporate orders.

With the Honda, he knew he could always win.

But he said, "I'm winning, but I'm not having fun.

"I prefer to have fun than win again."

That's important.

Not many people will leave a sure thing for something uncertain, like the Yamaha.

Yamaha offered Rossi what he wanted, freedom.

All he had to do was show up and ride the bike with the added incentive that everybody knew that the Yamaha was an inferior machine.

Everybody was saying that he was winning just because he had the best bike.

Easy to win with that bike, and he didn't like that.

So, he wanted to challenge that.

Valentino wanted to show the reasons of him winning is himself, not the bike.

So he came to me and talked about that story.

So, I was really hungry to get the win.

So that was a good time to talk to each other, to make a good bike.

In Masao Furusawa, Rossi had the engineering genius he needed to redesign the Yamaha.

Now, he just needed the mechanical genius to optimize the bike for each race, his crew chief at Honda, Jeremy Burgess, the only man in MotoGP with more world titles to his name than Rossi.

You're always trying to give him the best bike for the job.

The motorcycle is a tool to assist an individual to do what he loves to do.

My job is, essentially, to sharpen the tool so he can do it.

The Australian prepared the bikes for Wayne Gardner and Mick Doohan, taking six world titles with them, and then three with Rossi.

But always with Honda.

My team say, at the beginning, "You are fucking crazy

"to go with Yamaha! We'll remain with Honda.

"It's a lot more easy."

You only meet one Valentino Rossi in your life.

We could be racing lawn mowers, you know?

I do it because I love to win, and he's the guy we can win with.

Honda held Rossi to his contract to the end so that he couldn't test the Yamaha at all until the year was out, putting his new team at a further disadvantage going into 2004.

Nobody expected us to do any good the first year, particularly the first race. Realistically, you think, nobody could win on that bike.

Biaggi just holds firm. Rossi very, very close indeed.

Biaggi runs it wide an inch, Rossi will be through.

But there's no way through at the moment for the Yamaha rider.

Time's up, Rossi goes through.

There was an inch, and Rossi's done it.

And there's nothing Biaggi can do about it.

They brake for the left-hander!

Rossi's just a little bit out of shape, but somehow he hangs on to the Yamaha.

I mean, Valentino put in an extra effort to win that race.

Rossi's gonna do it!

Valentino Rossi wins the African Grand Prix from Max Biaggi!

There was a lot of emotion in that first weekend for him to win on that bike.

Trust me, it wasn't a given.

That victory cemented the Rossi legend.

No one had ever done this before, win the last race of the year for one manufacturer, and the first race of the next season for another.

It also buried Biaggi as a serious challenger.

He won only one more Grand Prix and was left without a MotoGP ride at the end of 2005.

I have the 2004 bike of Welkom, the real one, in my bathroom?

Bedroom! Bedroom, sorry!

It's in the bedroom.

No, it's not in the toilet. It's in the bedroom.

Every morning, when I wake up, I see my bike, and I have some socks sometimes on the bike, but anyways, it's a great memory.

He's a charmer, you know? He's star material, whatever sport he'd be in.

But apart from that, he's a ruthless killer.

I always feel people need reminding of that.

He really is a savage competitor, not in a way of being dangerous, but of being very dedicated to winning, at almost any cost.

Sete Gibernau leads. Look at the crowd!

One hundred twenty-seven thousand Spaniards go absolutely crazy.

Into the right-hander! Rossi's got the inside.

Rossi's back in front, he runs it wide.

Now, who has the first position for the right-hander? It's Gibernau.

Rossi's surely gonna try and get up the inside of Gibernau.

Gibernau holds the pole position.

They brake for the left-hander. Rossi up the inside!

They touch! Oh, they touched.

Rossi. Gibernau's running wide.

Rossi's punted him off the track!

Rossi's gonna take victory in the Spanish Grand Prix!

Gibernau's in the gravel. Can he get back on the track in time to take second?

Do they get any better than that?

That was a strong move. Yeah.

That was a Simoncelli move.

We're just seeing it again, the replay here, and I don't know, Rossi is very, very deep. As you say, his foot came off.

You can see the contact here better than anywhere else, but...

It was the last corner, you know?

You have to try.

The Spanish crowd here, the whole stand in front of me are singing fuera, which means "out. " They want Rossi banned from this race.

It's thumbs down all the way in front of me here.

They're whistling and booing Valentino Rossi.

What a start to the season!

If you're a racer, actually, all that matters is winning, isn't it?

What he's here to do is win.

Look at the way he destroyed Max Biaggi.

He destroyed Sete Gibernau.

This is motorcycle, and it's very good that you have a hard fight, like, in my case, with Biaggi, with Gibernau, and especially, at the end, with Stoner in Laguna Seca.

Rossi and Gibernau had been feuding for a while.

In 2004, Rossi vowed that the Spaniard would never win another race.

Gibernau never did.

He left the sport for good in 2009.

Casey Stoner is a different story.

He beat Rossi fair and square in 2007, winning 10 races to Rossi's four.

This was the first year of the new 800cc MotoGP formula, Stoner's first year on the Ducati, and only his second in MotoGP.

The Australian on the Italian bike took everybody by surprise, including himself.

Qatar, there's no way we thought we were gonna win the world championship, but we went out there and we won the first race, we won the third race, we won the fourth race.

Epic battle at the front.

Stoner tries it in the right-hander, through turn three.

A long radius, right-hander. And Stoner's through.

Till now, I think, the Stoner of two years ago has been the fastest Valentino met, because it was so difficult to understand why Stoner was so fast.

Stoner leads the way!

Rossi's gonna try to get back to the front.

Rossi back in front, but he runs a little bit wide.

I think so, Stoner goes back in front.

I think it wasn't till maybe race eight or nine that we were starting to go, "Okay, we've actually got a shot at the championship here."

Casey Stoner wins the Grand Prix at Catalunyal What a race!

On top of that, Stoner's world championship on the Ducati was the first time in over 30 years that a European manufacturer had beaten the Japanese in the premier class.

Stoner has a great talent, and sometimes it's impressive how fast he is.

In three laps, he made the lap record, as you say.

Impressive, but if you work step by step, it's possible to fight with him.

Nine races into the 2008 season, Rossi was leading the championship.

But Stoner was on a winning streak and closing in fast.

At Laguna Seca, where he triumphed in 2007 and where Ross: had never won, the Australian was fastest in practice and starting the race from pole position.

He looked unbeatable.

In Laguna, at that point, Casey had won three races in succession, and we had to stop that run, and it looked like he was going to win another one, and this is what Casey thought.

Clearly, that was the thing that we had to attack, was Casey's belief that it was a foregone conclusion he would win the race.

Casey started for that race sure to win, because he had more than half-a-second-per-lap advantage.

But when he discovered that he'd have to battle with me so hard, he didn't expect it, you know? So, this was important.

A lot of things weren't shown during that race, on camera, that happened over the back part of the circuit.

Rossi knew he didn't have the speed to stay with Stoner.

So he had to try and get in front of him early and counter attack at once if Stoner got back past.

If Stoner broke away, he'd be gone.

Stoner was unbelievable in Laguna, and I knew that I had to stay in front.

In his desperation to stay ahead, Rossi overshot, dropping into the 10-story downhill chicane known as the "Corkscrew."

And the Corkscrew incident was nothing.

That was Valentino making a huge mistake, running wide, going off the track, holding it wide open and getting lucky that he didn't fling himself into one of the barriers and into me.

From the bike, it was quite scary.

During the practice, I did the same mistake.

And I know that it don't have deep sand, but just some dirt.

So when I drove over there in the racetrack, I say, "Maybe it's okay, because I already

"try one time in the practice. But I don't want to try it. "

Just made a mistake, you know?

There's been some moments when Valentino rides really hard and aggressive.

But he's as clean as a whistle.

He doesn't do anything wrong.

And then there's other moments where he seems to leave his brain somewhere else, and he'll just plant it into the side of someone I just don't think it's correct. It's not a contact sport.

But Stoner complained with me, but I never touched Stoner.

So, you know, what happened in Laguna was a great battle.

And unfortunately, when you lose this great battle...

It means, "You're very angry."

Stoner complained, but in general, he don't know why he complained because I never touched him.

Yeah, there's the saying, "What goes around, comes around."

So, you know, we'll see what happens.

If people keep getting away with what they are these days, then it's gonna get quite extreme. Something's gonna go wrong.

Stoner's 2008 challenge faltered after Laguna.

He crashed out of the next two races when he was leading from Rossi.

I think Stoner...

The thing you have to question is his mental strength.

Rossi went on to win the championship, becoming only the second rider in history to regain the crown after losing it two years in a row.

The only other man to do this, Giacomo Agostini.

Stoner's fortunes, meanwhile, took a strange turn.

After winning 10 races in 2007, he won six in 2008, and then in 2009, just four.

At Catalunya, in 2009, the day of Rossi's last corner pass on Lorenzo, something was clearly wrong.

You saw him in the paddock and went, "My God!

"You actually should be in hospital.

"You look that pale, that drawn. "

And it was getting to him. He couldn't talk to anybody, you know, one autograph hunter would freak him out.

Then Stoner did what tough guy racers aren't supposed to do.

In the middle of the season, he packed up and went home.

It's better for me to pull out and try and fix the problem.

And then, it took us a long time to figure it out.

The reaction of the other riders to that was very interesting.

They're absolutely flabbergasted, that he should stop in the middle.

You just don't do that.

How do you have the mindset that allows you to do that?

Casey came back very strong, but the question mark is always gonna be there.

The Casey we got back, completely different person.

Stoner was finally diagnosed with lactose intolerance.

With the lactose intolerance, I was getting that tired, and that worn out on the bike after five laps that I was struggling to go in on the braking points.

I wasn't able to get out of the way of someone if I was caught in the middle of a few riders, and it might've been a tricky situation.

I'm 100% now.

He's puzzling, you know.

I'd say he's very much always a championship contender.

But then he does these puzzling things, like go off for three months or ride like a hot-headed Moto2 maniac, you know?

He puzzled everyone some more by coming back and winning his home Grand Prix in Australia and the next race in Malaysia, before crashing out of the last race of 2009 on the warm-up lap.

He crashed out of the first race of 2010 while leading, and he crashed out at Le Mans.

I wanna try and win, and people will criticize me for that, but racing isn't always about the championships.

It's a bonus at the end of the season.

I'm out there and I'm out there to win races, get the best result I possibly can in each race.

Of course, sometimes the mistakes come.

Unlike Stoner and Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi has never missed a Grand Prix.

He's done every single race since March, 1996.

That was 15 years ago, and he's not yet missed a race.

I was very close sometimes.

Valencia 2007, I had injury, but always try to resist.

This is like a legend, that I have never have pain, but I broke a lot of things like the other riders.

Hands, fingers, ankles.

One of the worst of my career and the big, big pain...

And I remember the feeling of pain everywhere in the body, because I did the change of direction before the last chicane, and that is sixth gear, it's 265 kilometers per hour, and when I changed direction, and I hold the bike on the left of the tire, the tires start and make a very bad high side.

And I have the time, when I fly, to say, "Mamma mia, what's happened? Now is a big, big crash!"

And when I go down and start tumble afterwards, it's like 30 people kick you, you know, all together.

And broke the hand, it was a very bad crash, and a very stupid mistake from myself, because I needed to wait more.

There are far fewer serious injuries than 10 or 20 years ago.

The injuries now are usually to the extremities of the skeleton, the bones of the hand, the feet, the shoulder and especially the collarbone.

Rossi raced two days later with broken bones in his hand and wrist, and finished eighth.

2006 was the year things started going wrong for him.

After five consecutive MotoGP world titles, Rossi was the clear favorite to win the championship.

Then Toni Elias knocks him off in the first race, and tire and mechanical failures put him out of another three Grand Prixs.

Valentino Rossi, seven and a half laps to go, is out of the French Grand Prix.

Midway through the season, when he crashed and broke his hand in practice, for the Dutch Grand Prix, he was trailing the American Nicky Hayden by 43 points.

Rossi fought back in the second half of the season, and was just 18 points behind the American going into the penultimate race in Portugal.

He came out of that weekend with an eight-point lead, after Hayden's own teammate, Dani Pedrosa, knocked him off.

I thought it was over, man.

I thought it was 25 years of hard work out the window, and my dream of being world champion was done.

I've never felt pain like that in my life.

It came in a bad moment, especially for him, but it was racing.

It never happened before to me, and it never happened again.

But it came right finally so...

We were in the motor home after I crashed, and we were watching the race, and I was like, "Oh, my God, Toni's about to nip him at the line here."

And that just gave me a feeling that, "You know what, this ain't over. "

That's five points, that adds a whole new dimension.

I never pulled for a guy so hard in my life.

The final twist came at Valencia, where Rossi did what nobody expected.

He crashed.

The worst moment of my career, except when you crash and you have pain.

I was very, very fast and I did the pole position, but at the same time, I had an impressive race pace with the race tires.

Pam! Pam! Pam! Very fast, the bike was okay.

Sunday, nothing worked. I didn't have the same grip from the tires.

Rossi looked like he bogged it, a bit off the line.

He's back in the field there a bit.

And when I start for the race, the bike was impossible to ride.

Hayden up the inside of Capirossi.

Hayden now up into third place.

And there is Valentino Ross! just get a glimpse of that yellow helmet-

He's not where he wants to be.

For me, something strange happened with the tire.

The tires were not the same of Saturday, I think, but you never know.

Valentino Rossi is gonna have to produce the ride of his life if he is gonna win the 2006...

Oh! Rossi's gone down!

Rossi's down, Rossi is down.

The reality is I lose the championship and Nicky win.

Hayden finished third and won the world championship, proving that absolutely anything can happen, even after you get taken out by your teammate and you're eight points behind Valentino Rossi going into the final race.

Rossi lost the championship by five points, the difference between first and second in Portugal, where Toni Elias beat him.

Toni Elias, the man who knocked him off in Jerez at the start of the season.

Toni, my boy Toni, did me the biggest favor ever.

I mean, I always have a soft spot in my heart for that guy.

How dangerous is MotoGP?

And where exactly is the danger?

Rossi's crashes offer two answers. A machine problem, the Valencia crash was due to an electronic fault, and the most common cause, human error.

In Holland, Rossi had not waited long enough for the rear tire to get up to optimum temperature.

So it lacked grip.

They may resemble superheroes in their high-tech race suits, but the riders are human and breakable.

Motorsport is supposed to be dangerous, but not too dangerous. It's a bit of a tightrope, really.

And you'd have to say that the improvement in safety over the last 20 years of motorbike racing has been absolutely fantastic.

When riders crash nowadays, serious injury is less likely than it used to be because of the improvements in track safety with huge runoff areas, and the protective equipment the riders wear, which now includes crash-activated airbags, as well as body armor beneath the leather.

In recent years, some riders have crashed

20 or 30 times in a season without serious injury.

Carlos held the record for the most crashes in one season, like 28 crashes or something.

Exactly, I don't know, but it was around 30.

I stopped counting.

They fall a lot at the beginning.

When they're on small bikes, they fall a lot.

Then they stabilize, and when they're older, they start to fall again.

The champions fall very rarely, though.

Even 30 years ago, when the tracks were not at all safe and there were far more fatalities, the best riders rarely died on the track.

All the premier class champions, from 1960 to the present day, survived their motorcycle racing careers.

Making very few mistakes is one of the defining qualities of a champion.

In two of his championship-winning years, Rossi finished every single race, and in the others, he never crashed out more than twice.

To be a successful racer, you have to have a strong sense of self-preservation and an overweening confidence in your own ability.

They are human men, but humans of a rare type, something like fighter pilots with their extraordinary hand-eye coordination, their cool heads in a fight, the combination of extreme discipline in training and testing, and the willingness to risk it all when the moment demands it.

But no matter how good you are, and no matter how great the improvements to tracks and equipment, things can still go badly wrong.

With solo crashes, you might break a hand, but serious injuries are very rare.

When they're in a group, and there is a faller, the others can run him over.

That's the biggest danger.

Catalunya, 2006, lap one, heading into Turn 1 at over 150 miles an hour.

Sete Gibernau clips the back of Loris Capirossi's Ducati.

I was right behind Sete when it happened.

He started braking, and he was braking on the white line that separated the track from the pit lane entrance.

And I think that kind of spooked him a little bit, and he tried to get off the white line.

As he tried to do that, he just ventured over into Capirossi, and hit his front brake and then it was assholes and elbows after that.

Once all the carnage started, I just remember seeing Melandri stuck up the back of somebody's rear wheel, basically trying to rip his arm off.

When I came in, I'm pretty sure I was a couple of shades whiter than what I am right now because I thought I'd just watched Melandri get completely offed.

He was fine, you know.

But it was a pretty gnarly crash for sure.

At Assen in 2008, John Hopkins crashed in the same corner as Rossi two years earlier, but this was a machine failure.

It sent him off the track at an unexpected angle, straight into the wall.

It was such an odd place where I had crashed because it was a bike mechanical failure, and one of the forks actually didn't compress when I went in to brake, so that the front just slid and I went off in fifth gear, wide open, and the data said that, at top speed, right when I crashed, I was doing 168 miles an hour.

So I hit the wall at over 100 miles an hour.

That's like falling from an airplane and just hitting the concrete.

Thank God I hit it with my feet first.

I blew out my knee and busted my ankle and stuff, but had I been headfirst, I would have broken my neck and would've been dead for sure.

That definitely frightened me, man. That scared me a lot.

John Hopkins was lucky.

Daijiro Kato, who died in a freak accident at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2003, was unlucky.

Shoya Tomizawa, an emerging star in the new Moto2 category, will be unlucky.

In September, 2010, five months after winning his first Grand Prix in Qatar, he will lose his life in a freak accident at the San Marino race, struck by two other bikes after he fell directly in front of them.

It's that kind of reality that you don't want to see, because you don't think it will happen to you.

It's something, you know it's there, but it's better not to look.

Mugello belongs to Valentino Rossi.

He's won nine Grand Prixs in all classes here, including seven consecutively in the premier class.

It's a special place for him, and he always brings something special to wear.

Mugello is the classic special helmet of the year.

Many times, he was able to do the best with the special helmets.

The face was the most famous special helmet of Valentino.

To be honest, a few days before, we have no idea about what can be the next special helmet.

I asked him to talk about Mugello.

We was talking about Casanova-Savelli, you know, there is that going down to the hill.

And then he show me, when you go down, the face you have...

Yeah, and he makes a special face and they say, "Do it one more time."

He do it, I take a picture and I said, "Okay, that is the new helmet for Mugello. "

We are working with a lot of riders and for everyone, I think, to have the right color or the right cartoon or something that they have in their heart, maybe one image, maybe one special sign, makes the rider more comfortable.

The story of humanity is full of these kinds of things.

The soldiers, the cavaliers in the past, the Indians in America, they take colors with the hands and put it on the face to be strong, to be more aggressive or maybe to take away their fear.

So, the colors, they can help a man to be more strong.

It's like when Superman put the suit on.

So when I put my yellow leather suit, it's not just protection, but also psychological effect.

A MotoGP bike is a machine with a human at one end and a small patch of rubber at the other.

In the middle is an engine generating an enormous amount of power.

The job of the rider and his team is to figure out how to get as much of that power to the ground for as much of every lap as possible.

The bikes are pure prototypes, costing tens of millions of dollars and created exclusively for racing.

These are the numbers, 220 horsepower, 350 pounds, the minimum machinery for the maximum performance, far more power-to-weight than a Formula One car, more speed, too.

Over 210 miles an hour at tracks like Mugello, where an F1 car tops out at 200.

The big difference is that, in the car racing, they are able to understand all the things from the computer, because the driver is stuck on the car.

In the bike, it's a lot more difficult to understand what's happened, because more movement of the rider changes all the balance of the bike.

For this reason, it's more important, the experience and the indication of the rider.

In Italian, the word for a motorcycle racer is centauro, a centaur, the mythical animal that is half-man, half-horse.

But it's no myth.

A MotoGP bike is a prosthetic limb for speed freaks.

The engineer's job is to make the bike an extension of the rider's body, moving in every direction with him, giving him the feedback he needs to go faster.

When I was a small kid, I really wanted to be an airplane engineer.

But after World War II, we are kind of forbidden to make airplanes, from the United States.

So most of the good engineers went to automotives or motorcycles.

That's why the motorcycle engineering is very good in Japan, because a motorcycle is next to an airplane, much more similar dynamics.

So, looks like a simple vehicle, but, actually, it's pretty much complicated in the 3D moving, more than the four-wheeled cars.

A motorcycle at this level is basically flying on the ground.

So, a motorcycle comes along, pitches into a corner, it gets to 60 degrees.

There's two gravities going down through the tire.

That's exactly the same as of any aircraft which goes into a corner.

There's two gravities trying to pull the wings off.

The physics of doing 140 miles an hour with your knee on the ground, everything's trying to suck itself into the ground.

This weight should make the bike fall into the corner.

But, because of the speed and other forces, force that's centrifugal, that makes these two forces in equilibrium.

That's why the bike can lean and don't fall into the curve.

When you run around the corner, the force wants to throw you to the outside, so you counteract it by leaning to the inside.

Same with a motorcycle.

Everyone who's ridden a bicycle has that experience.

It's not that far away, really.

They just go a hell of a lot faster.

When it's on its side, the entire bike must flex to absorb the bumps, because the suspension cannot move up and down when it's horizontal.

The chassis has to be flexible. It's a controlled flex.

To quote one of the Honda Japanese, "it bends like a tree.

"It bends and returns to its position."

On Sundays, they are gladiators.

But on Fridays and Saturdays, during practice and qualifying, the riders and their teams are more like research scientists.

Their subject?

Bending the laws of physics as far as possible.

Every track has its own attitude of what the bike needs to be set at.

The tarmac surface, cambers, off-cambers, maybe some uphills, downhills, tighter corners, slower corners, faster corners.

If you can get a bike that works 85%, 90%, that's good.

It's never going to be perfect, because you have so many different types of corners on a track.

You're going to go through a corner and be like, "Okay, it's awesome through there."

You get to a hairpin and you're like, "It's a wreck. "

You gotta at least try to keep the traction just a little bit longer till we can start driving, because I can't roll with that.

So, right in here, it's still skatey when you're going to the throttle, then it transfers, then it grips.


All I try and do is make him as comfortable as he can be on the bike.

Once he's comfortable, then he can go do his job.

It's doing everything okay, but...

It always feels like there's a little something here you could make better.

You could make this better, get a little more feel out of that, have a little more traction here.

There could always be something a little bit better.

A MotoGP bike is so finicky.

It sounds stupid, but one mil here, one mil there, which is nothing, you go out and you come in and go, "I can't ride it. "

I mean, it's crazy.

I don't like.

Every rider wants the same thing.

The ability to feel the track through the bike, to sense exactly what's happening where the tires touch the asphalt.

With feel comes confidence, with confidence comes speed.

You ask anybody, "Do you want more front end feel or do you want more horsepower?"

Everybody's always gonna say, "More front end feel. "

Once you get a comfortable front end, you start carrying more speed, a little more entry speed, and then your lap times start dropping.

What matters here is that the tire contact patch is so small, and you've got to put 220 horsepower through that.

So, it's a game of not over-stressing those tires, but taking them to the limit of their ability to grip.

But never too far.

And it's that little bit, that last little bit, that all these teams are searching for to make them work.

Suspension is working, but the tire is not working, so we need to push on tire, try to get tire working.

Before riding, tire warmers heat the tires to 80 degrees Celsius.

Out on the track, the riders have to work them hard to generate additional heat and the grip that comes with it.

It is regular to go over 100 degrees Celsius.

You can't touch them when they come in, put it that way.

It's like touching a metal kettle in your kitchen.

And that's where that amazing grip comes from.

By the time you get them up to that temperature, they become so sticky, it's almost like glue.

The bikes are infinitely adjustable. The laptops tell the story.

They may burn fossil fuel, but these are effectively digital machines, their performance pre-programmable.

There's so much technology nowadays with anti-wheelie, anti-spin, anti-rectum control.

I mean, they got all kinds of shit on this thing that...

You're constantly trying to tweak this, play with that.

This line is the gearbox.

You see second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth.

You see, the throttle opening is the blue line.

Then we have a lot of sensors checking the engine performance, like lambda sensor, temperature.

The total number, including the mathematical channel, is around 200, but normally we check 20.

The KISS Principle. Keep it simple, stupid.

Okay, so we go with the first bike.


Parallel up. Yeah.

And the second bike, bring that home.

Working with him is amazing.

If you work with him, you can realize how amazing he is.

Sometimes, Valentino can make a race with the same lap time from beginning to the end.

I can take the lap number four and I overlay lap number 25.

You can't see any difference in speed between the lap number four and the lap number 25.

Rossi he has that edge-

He can feel very well, this line.

He's going on that edge for all the race, so he's good at that.

Mantequilla is the new word, of this year, of my team.

When you ride very smooth on the turns, when you ride like Mantequilla, like you are putting butter on bread, with the knife, very smooth, very precise.

This is the Mantequilla style.

My dad, he was a mechanic. He was in the garage with a hammer.

So I was thinking, "When I became a real rider, "I want to be at the same constant as a hammer, with the same force, "and in the same time."

Hammer, hammer, every lap the same.

This is more or less the two best skills I have.

The smooth style and the hammer constant pace.

The other riders are more inconstant, apart from Valentino, who is, more or less, the same constant as me.

It's one of the best points about Jorge that he's not a big technician, but he knows exactly what he needs to be fast.

He says, "If you fix the braking, I will be three times faster. "

Always, if we are able to do it, he is three times faster.

Lorenzo, this year, he's made everything look so easy.

He looks like he could take a hand off and put it behind his back and do the same thing.

Sometimes I can feel a little bit of frustration from Valentino.

He's developing the machine, and in the meantime, he is preparing the tool for his best rival to try to beat him.

We have the bike that we have worked very hard on for seven years to make as good as it is.

Jorge has come along and inherited a lot of that work and has done a great job with it.

It's not my bike because Vale has been doing the evolution, so he has been making the bike for his style.

But I adapt my style to the bike.

Every time I beat Valentino, some part of the press says, "Why do Ramon and you make

"better settings than Vale and Burgess?"

And I say, "Maybe it's not a question of the setting."

He learned a lot from Valentino.

He's learned too much from Valentino.

Valentino has developed the bike, and he's got the bike ready made.

What bothers Rossi's fans is not just the fact that Lorenzo's winning races, but that he's mimicking Rossi's style.

Rossi has the sun and moon on his helmet and leathers, Lorenzo, a halo and devil's horns.

One leg of Rossi's leathers is yellow, one leg of Lorenzo's, red.

He's a copycat.

We don't like him so much here in Tavullia.

How much of that is getting up Rossi's nose?

Maybe the imitation is part of Lorenzo's way of winding Rossi up.

Valentino, nine wins here at Mugello, seven in the MotoGP last week.

You think of Mugello, you think of Valentino Rossi, but it will be tough on Sunday for many reasons, for Jorge, in particular.

Unfortunately, I had a bad idea to crash with a motocross bike, to have an injury that may give me some problem, but championship is long, we need to fight.

I noticed that Valentino was very anxious at this time.

It was a difficult moment of the season because of my shoulder injury.

I need victory in Mugello.

He had a lot of pain to the shoulder, and coming to Mugello, he said, "I am like a gambler, I want to play the joker."

We think of the joker because it's like when you play cards and you have the joker, at one moment, you have to play.

And you have to play when it's important.

He'd come out on a new tire, he'd done one out lap.

Then he was on his second lap and that's when you slow down.

But he hadn't done a complete flying lap, so the tire temperature was already at the bottom end of its working range.

I slowed down because I had Barberé following me-

I slowed him down for six or seven seconds.

And when I started to push, the tire on the left was cold and it was a big high side, very fast.

That was just in front of me.

So in the practice, I saw it out of the corner of my eye.

It was ugly because that's a really fast place.

It was a bad feeling because I lose practice, I made a mistake.

But after, when I touched the ground, I had pain.

I said, "Maybe the problem is bigger."

The violent impact of the foot on the asphalt broke the leg.

And the broken bone pierced the skin and became exposed.

When I understood that I broke a leg, I was quite desperate.

The pain was hard.

A cold tire crash is usually the worst, because you just have no idea.

It's like you walked through the front door, and somebody had a baseball bat and just smacked you in the face without you knowing about it.

I stabilized the injury and put the bones back in the body.

It's not good for the bone to be exposed to the air.

Together with Dr. Macchiagodena at Mugello, we arranged to get him to the operating theater in less than three hours, avoiding vascular complications.

The day after, me and Davide, we went to the hospital to check Valentino's condition.

We stayed there a couple of hours. I was quite worried about him.

Valentino will not depart bike racing second in anything.

Valentino Rossi does not leave this paddock on a stretcher.

However many points he was behind his teammate, of all people?

Doesn't happen. Won't happen.

Even if he just comes back and wins one race to prove a point, that'll do it.

Why did Rossi crash?

It was an unforced error, pressure maybe, probably.

He's not used to being pushed.

And that's going to get worse and worse.

It takes a normal person five or six months if all goes well.

Yes, five months is to play football.

The surgery was perfect, Dr. Buzzi did a great job and put a long pin in the tibia.

The guy who was clever on the Sunday morning at Mugello was Pedrosa, because he woke up and he went, "I can win this. I can step into the shoes

"of the man who has dominated so many years here at Mugello. "

He will win the Italian Grand Prix.

In the absence of Valentino Rossi, it's not Lorenzo, but it's Dani Pedrosa who wins at Mugello.

What a ride. Where did that come from?

Lorenzo might not have woken up so quickly, and he's now coming to the next race here at Silverstone, going, "Right, I've got to be on it and I've got to be on it now. "

One week after the crash, you don't think of nothing.

You don't think of the race and the bike.

You just have pain, you don't sleep, and you say "Fuck!" every time.

I'll return fast!

It's gonna be Lorenzo who's going to win.

He comes through Woodcote Corner.

Lorenzo wins the British Grand Prix.

So, Jorge Lorenzo safely negotiates the chicane here at Assen and wins his fourth Grand Prix of the season.

Jorge Lorenzo takes his third victory in succession in MotoGP.

Dani Pedrosa takes second and Casey Stoner falls to third.

I have a strange effect.

I don't have any emotion to see the race on television.

It's like something very far for me.

I don't expect this. I thought when I saw the race, I'd say...

But I was very quiet.

Just thinking of the best way to recover in a shorter time to be back.

He's using the hyperbaric chamber, physiotherapy machines to improve the healing of the bone.

When you cannot ride the bike, you are very quiet at home on the sofa.

But when you say, "Maybe it's possible, " you can't stay at home, you have to try.

He was like a child, when you give a present, a gift to a child at Christmas time, he's the same, his face changed immediately.

Valentino, even after 104 wins, after nine titles, he really can't wait to ride a motorcycle.

Thirty-seven days after the crash, Rossi tests a Yamaha superbike at Brno, the day after the World Superbike races there.

A superbike is a highly modified production machine, a step down from a MotoGP prototype, but still a serious 200 mile-an-hour machine.

He lapped with the same pace as the previous day's winners.

But if you ask him, he'll say, "Did you think I wasn't able to do it?"

I mean, that's his answer.

And now it's a lot better already than Misano.

Five days after, we worked a lot in the gym and in the swimming pool to improve power and mobility.

I have pain, for sure.

I have some problem after the six, seven laps.

So it will be difficult to do the long race distances for sure.

When I saw him crash at Mugello, I seriously thought, "Well, that's the end of him. "

Any man who has achieved as much as he, who is richer than you could imagine and is now under threat from younger rivals, lying there looking at his shinbone sticking out of his leg.

Not a pretty sight.

I really thought that we'd probably seen the last of him.

And then he made me look like an absolute idiot by coming back within five weeks.

He's actually nuts about racing, he's mad about racing.

There's no other word to describe it.

The doctor, they were all surprised, his bone condition after just 40 days was like a normal person in double the time.

The shoulder was very painful.

Five or six hours in the swimming pool and the gym.

A lot of people helped me very much.

Every day is a small victory.

It's his heart, his passion, his desire to escape the monotony of everyday, to return to the fatal attraction of the marvelous world of motorcycle racing.

This is the kind of thing that can turn on you as you get older.

It's really hard to stop racing.

You look at the great names from the recent past, very few of them have retired because they thought, "I'm getting a bit old now, and it's a bit silly

"and I've done everything . There's nothing more to prove."

Very, very few. Agostini's one very rare example.

Valentino managed to reconcile me to motorcycles, because Graziano had a very big accident in 1982.

Little by little, Valentino has revived in me a great love for motorcycles.

Now that Valentino has hurt himself, I'm a little worried.

Rainey, Schwantz, Doohan and so on, they stopped because they got hurt.

They were nuts about racing. It's a fine kind of madness, quite a potentially self-destructive kind of madness, too.

Well, his dad was a famous nutcase who was mad about racing and got stopped by getting hurt.

Let's hope it doesn't run in the family.

I stopped for a big, terrible crash.

I crashed in Imola in 1982, 260 kilometers perhoufl Was not a good experience.

Dr. Costa said that I'd probably die, and then this was not true, and I have been very, very lucky.

He was dead.

Graziano Rossi died in that corner.

Because that corner was very dangerous, I had stationed a very good doctor there and he reached him within seconds and resuscitated him.

In this world, the rider smiles when he confronts a fatal incident or drama.

That is the beautiful thing, because life has meaning only when it stares death in the face.

That throng of journalists is all outside the Fiat/Yamaha garage. Number 46, and amazingly, six weeks later, he's even able to walk, let alone ride a 240 horsepower motorcycle.

Valentino wasting no time at all to put three fastest splits in.

Valentino Rossi top of the pile by 0-57 of a second-

Situation completely normal.

I wondered about the psychology here, whether Rossi can pressure him somehow by coming back this soon, or whether Lorenzo is just going to manage to just shut him out.

Remember in 2006, when Valentino Rossi was aboard the yellow Camel Yamaha and he had disasters with engines in Le Mans, and he had an engine blow up at Laguna, but by the time we got to the end of the year in Valencia, he was leading the championship by eight points ahead of Nicky Hayden.

Lorenzo leads Rossi by 104 points, more than four race wins.

But this is a sport that sees sudden and brutal reversals of fortune.

Who knows?

Maybe Lorenzo will run into the kind of luck Rossi had in 2006.

Maybe Rossi still has a shot at the title.

It's something very, very difficult, but it's something that everybody in the back of his mind is thinking.

I feel this bike very well.

I know the limits. Of course I can crash, but I know the limits very well.

In the end, Rossi is back because he can be and so he has to be.

This is what he lives for. This is what they all live for.

One of the big sensations is driving a bike fast.

I think, second, only two other things.

Sex and riding, the best experiences.

When you feel the bike and you are confident with it, it's fantastic.

Fantastic sensation.

It's some kind of love. A strange love, you know.

Nothing's even come close to it.

My whole life's pretty much just revolved around motorcycles.

I love my bike. I love the feeling of being on a bike.

Trying to improve your riding style.

Racing these machines against these people, that's what I love.

You zip up the leathers, put the helmet on, walking out to your bike, you feel complete.

As soon as that shield goes down, there's nothing.

That's it. It's just done. You snap the shield shut.

Let's go as fast as we possibly can.

Been racing motorcycles for 32 years, since I was four.

It's been a very long love affair.

I started riding bikes when I was four years old.

This is my twenty-first season.

When I am home more than one week, I want to come back and ride.

From the time I was three years old, been racing motorcycles.

I didn't ever want to be an astronaut, a fire fighter, a footballer, nothing else. I wanted to be world champion.

When I was four, I was sitting on Santa Claus' lap and said, "I want a motorcycle. " And then his reaction was, "Well, you can't do this." And I totally just walked off and didn't even listen to what he had to say, 'cause he didn't have a motorcycle for me.

And then I got a motorcycle when I was five.

And started racing street bikes when I was eight.

I was three years old the first time I got onto a bike, I realized that it was my sport.

My dad was convinced I could be a world champion.

Since the beginning, since I was three years old.

He was talking about that with people and people thought that he was mad, completely mad.

It's usually the father who supports his son's ambition.

But there's always the exception.

Well, my mom was the one that had the $80,000 credit card bills, working three jobs, doing that kind of stuff.

We knew when he was three years old.

When he was 12, I knew he was going to be a champion.

Told so many people.

So far this year, Mary Spies has watched her son crash twice in France, retire in Spain and finish seventh in Italy.

Ben said it's gonna be a different ball game.

And just hang in there and we'll take it step by step-

He crashed again in practice in Britain.

And then racing with a broken bone in his foot, he shows everyone what he's made of.

Inside line as they go down towards Abbey.

Ben Spies now on the outside.

Can he find some way through at Farm Curve?

There you see, and Spies is gonna go through.

How much longer?

Halfa lap.

Dovizioso's second. Ben Spies in third place.

Got it. He got third.


That's his life, and he can do whatever he wants and I will support him.

The other man on fire at this point of the season is Frenchman Randy de Puniet, who has qualified on the front row at the last three races, second only to Lorenzo and Stoner.

Like Spies, de Puniet is in the satellite team, racing a second-best bike.

Only the top teams get the latest equipment, an unfair fact of MotoGP life.

De Puniet's ultra-fast qualifying laps are a tribute to his bra very.

And perhaps also to the testosterone boosting powers of his Australian girlfriend, Lauren Vickers.

But it's very, very hard to maintain that level of over-the-limit commitment for an entire race.

I don't like to see that so much, the crashes, but when he's on a high, it's really amazing to be able to watch him.

Yeah, I feel okay because it's my riding style.

And it was the only chance to be fast.

Sure, my bike was a little bit difficult to control.

But it was no problem because I am in good physical condition, and I was ready for that.

It's another good lap by Rossi.

Will it lift him out of fifth place? It does. Up to fourth.

He's getting nearer and nearer to that front row start.

Fire out of the side of Jorge Lorenzo's bike.

Fuel off the left hand side of the bike.

Oil spitting out of the bike.

Pouring out.

There he is. Oil spurting out of his bike.

All the way down towards Turn 1.

Ben Spies has gone down.

Hey, there's someone else there as well.

Is that Randy de Puniet?

Yeah. It's de Puniet down.

Red flag out.

Oil on the track, de Puniet looks hurt.

Jorge Lorenzo is confirmed as being on pole position.

The Spaniard just nipping ahead of Casey Stoner.

And Dani Pedrosa rounding out the first row.

Row two, Dovizioso backing up Pedrosa's speed.

Valentino Ross: he returns-

Row three, headed by Randy de Puniet.

Let's hope he's okay for tomorrow's Grand Prix after the crash.

Jorge Lorenzo in pole.

Casey Stoner, he goes to Honda next season.

Behind them, look out for the return of The Doctor, Valentino Rossi.

Valentino Rossi hasn't ruled out challenging for this championship.

Round eight of the MotoGP World Championship here at the Sachsenring is underway.

The race is scheduled for 30 laps of the 2. 2-mile circuit.

Sachsenring is unusual because it has 10 left and only three right turns.

The layout helps Rossi.

His injuries are to his right leg and right shoulder, and the track places the load on the stronger left side of his body.

Nine laps in, Lorenzo leads from Pedrosa, Stoner and Dovizioso.

Rossi is in fifth place when the crash happens.

De Puniet falls first and is struck by the Ducati of Mika Kallio.

Bautista and Espargaro hit de Puniet's bike.

De Puniet's injuries, a broken tibia and fibula, like Rossi at Mugello.

The race is restarted.

Pedrosa takes the lead from Lorenzo in lap 10 and edges away to win by three seconds.

The real battle is behind them.

Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi fight it out for the final place on the podium.

And it will all be down to the final lap for the battle for the podium position.

Rossi will be desperate for it.

Stoner desperate to hang onto it.

Look how wide Stoner has gone.

He's gonna try and get the drive going down to 14.

Stoner's going to come in. It's the final corner in attack.

Stoner goes through into 14.

Across the line, it's Stoner.

You know, I'm sure from Casey's perspective, there was extra effort put in to not get beaten by a guy with a broken leg.

Overall, I think being a left-hand track may not be too difficult on the leg.

You obviously don't get any rest at all at Laguna.

I suffered quite a lot in Turn 4 and Turn 5, for changing direction from right to left and also braking for the turnpike.

It's a hard sport, physically.

You are getting tired in the race.

You are moving your body and have a lot of force to move this bike.

And also to go down at the Corkscrew, I have some pain.

So in that change of direction, I was not strong enough.

In the race, Pedrosa leads Lorenzo again.

But this time, he cracks under pressure.

Crash! Dani Pedrosa! Dani Pedrosa has crashed out, leading all the way in this race so far.

Rossi finds himself in a last-lap battle with Andrea Dovizioso.

This time, he wins.

He's back on the podium.

But his teammate is on the top step.

He has a serenity.

Very mature, measured, careful races he's had all this year, with or without Rossi there.

He did a great job, so great congratulations to him, and he's in front every practice and in every condition.

So he's in great, great shape.

I think he deserves the championship, without my injury, my crash.

You cannot say nothing to a rider that...

The worst result is second, so...

In 2009, Valentino Rossi said he expected to stay at Yamaha until the end of his career.

At Laguna Seca, it's announced that he will race for Ducati in 2011.

One year ago, I think that I finish my career with Yamaha.

But after, inside of Yamaha, a lot of things changed.

Yamaha have hired somebody who is not just as fast as him, but frequently faster than him, and more distressingly for Rossi, a great deal younger.

I think we've got to wait till 2016 before we can make a determination on that, because that's when he'd have had the opportunity to win as many MotoGP Championships as Valentino has.

At the next race in the Czech Republic, Rossi is on course for a front row starting position when he crashes in the final corner of his fastest lap.

He escapes without injury.

He finishes fifth in the race.

Lorenzo wins.

Two weeks later in sweltering heat in Indianapolis, Rossi crashes again in practice.

And again.

And again.

When he came back, we thought that maybe in two or three races, he would have been 100%.

Now we realize that it's not like that.

In a normal condition, you fully dominate your bike, like you are in control.

Probably now, he is not in control. He has a lack of power.

After a disappointing sixth at Laguna Seca, Ben Spies rises to the occasion on his return to his home country.

He qualifies on pole and takes second in the race.

It was a perfect weekend for me. We didn't win the race, but in a rookie season, satellite bike, you can't ask for a whole lot more.

Dani Pedrosa wins, Lorenzo is third, Rossi fourth.

You can't bet against Valentino.

You know, Valentino is Valentino.

But there is always a changing of the guard.

Valentino said it best himself.

"The young sharks smell blood, " and they did.

And that aura of invincibility of Valentino's has been broken.

Now, can he repair that?

Rossi wears a special helmet for his home race in Misano, telling himself to wake up as the hour approaches.

I feel better with my leg, but unfortunately, this racetrack is very demanding for the shoulder, because it has three hard braking on the right.

The whole structure of the shoulder was damaged, the socket, ligaments, muscles, cartilage.

I think there's a particular angle it's fine, and another angle, it's very weak.


At the end of the straight, under hard braking.

The maximum G-force you can have is 2.5G.

The word is that his team is trying to make the bike easier for him to ride.

At the end of the day, if you can make the bike easier to ride, why wouldn't you make it easier to ride for a fit person?

It's impossible. It's impossible to make the bike easy to ride.

If he had lots of strength, we could make the bike good for braking, which is a strength of his.

But when he became tired or weak with his shoulder, then we had to slightly move the setting away from braking and more towards sort of help it turn.

We try to make a bike easier to stop from braking, but, you know, when you have a good bike in braking, then you have a bike that doesn't turn well, you create some benefit, but you create a lot of negative also.

This problem has been the story of all this year.

Valentino Rossi heads the second row of the grid.

He is the reigning MotoGP World Champion.

And the time is coming up to 2:00.

It's time, Valentino, to wake up.

And for those Valentino Rossi fan club members, it's time for Valentino Rossi to win another Grand Prix.

The last time that Valentino Rossi won a Grand Prix was April 11th, it's now September 5th.

What is going on?

In front of his adoring fans, Rossi does the best he can, fighting off Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso for third place behind Jorge Lorenzo and race winner Dani Pedrosa, who is now the only man with a hope of challenging Lorenzo for the title.

Valentino is like the conductor of an orchestra, coordinating the rhythm, the sound and the movement of the motorcycle.

He has always been beautiful to watch on a motorcycle, but now with the shoulder injury, his style is not so flowing.

In Aragon, at the 13th Grand Prix of the season, Casey Stoner wins for the first time this year.

And for the first time this year, Jorge Lorenzo fails to get on the podium.

He finishes fourth, behind Nicky Hayden.

Dani Pedrosa is second, narrowing the gap to Lorenzo to 56 points with five races to go, 125 points still up for grabs.

Aragon is Valentino Rossi's worst finish this year.


My throttle kept open when I was going to brake.

So I was braking, trying to brake, but with the throttle off, my bike was full open and I crashed.

We had a technical problem on the bike.

And he couldn't control it and he crashed so bad, because I think he didn't expect at that moment anything, and he fell really hard on his left shoulder and he broke the collarbone.

It seems to have been an assembly fault, a mechanic's error, and it cost him everything.

In the last five years, he's always been the runner-up, or second or third. Finally, to be the champion, everything has to be there for you that time.

And it hasn't been there for him.

We can only keep trying, and looking for it and believing in it the way we do.

Because if you don't believe, there's no meaning to do nothing.

My dream is to become, one day, MotoGP World Champion, at least one title in MotoGP.

That would make me very happy.

If not, maybe it's because I wasn't good enough, but I know I'm putting everything here to make it happen.

The moment that Dani Pedrosa hit the ground, the 2010 MotoGP World Championship was over.

His collarbone is not simply broken, it's shattered into several pieces.

He's flown back to Spain for surgery.

Officially, Jorge Lorenzo needs another 19 points to put the title beyond Dani Pedrosa's reach.

But Pedrosa will not be fit enough to win any more races this year.

Lorenzo can clinch the world title if he finishes first or second in Japan.

He'll have to get past his teammate to do this.

That was very brave, wasn't it, from Lorenzo, round the outside of Valentino Ross:

And Lorenzo trying to find the inside of Valentino Rossi.

He's got it. Can Rossi retake him?

And he's gonna love doing that.

Back through at Turn 5.

We still have to see Lorenzo under pressure, with the injury of Vale, by the half of season, he had quite a big gap in the championship.

Here comes Lorenzo, he almost does take Rossi's leg off now.

Can Rossi react again? Going down towards Turn 5.

They're side by side in the tunnel and Rossi returned the favor.

Can Lorenzo stick it around the outside of him, in towards the S-curve, he's gonna try it.

On the inside now, very hard stuff.

Eight turns going around there, Rossi on the inside...

Valentino still has this aura about him if it comes down to a last-lap fight, that he is not beaten and will not be beaten.

Now, can he go around the outside another time?

He loves that maneuver.

Here he comes once more, in towards the S-curve, and this time he will go in front once more.

Can Rossi react to the left hand...

He's gonna try...

It's the block pass, isn't it, from Valentino Ross:

Valentino beat him up good and proper, totally fairly.

Good close racing, but it was no mercy to a teammate who's getting close to a world championship.

Rossi has held him off for the final podium position, but delight for Ducati and Stoner, he wins the Japanese Grand Prix!

Brilliant performance!

Second place, Andrea Dovizioso.

In third place is Valentino Ross:

Jorge Lorenzo must wait another week before he can get his hands on Rossi's crown.

He's where he should be. He's in pole position, his sixth pole of the season, eight Grand Prix wins before the start of the most important race of his life.

The Grand Prix of Malaysia, Lorenzo leads the way.

I remember when I was 16, I was so ingenuous about everything, I didn't get any result, and this world of the motorcycle, for me, was so big, and I was so small.

So I had a lot of pressure to make good race.

I crashed many times, making some mistakes, but, you know, fortunately, you get better.

Jorge Lorenzo will be crowned the 2010 World Champion.

He finishes third in the race. He's done it.

Twenty years after he first rode a motorcycle, just as his father predicted, Jorge Lorenzo is MotoGP World Champion.

That day in Malaysia, at the same time, in the same place, there is another race.

Between 2004 and 2010, Valentino Rossi has won 45 races for Yamaha.

When I arrive at 45, I say, "I have to do 46. "

It's Lorenzo around the outside.

Look out for Casey Stoner on the inside, and Ben Spies as well.

Stoner up into third, but where is Valentino Rossi?

He's way, way back.

He's right down the order.

Absolute disaster for Valentino Ross:

He's not in the top 10.

We seem to have lost Casey Stoner. Where's he gone?

In that final corner, Stoner's gone down.

Stoner out of the race.

He's won the last two races, he's not gonna win this one.

Where is Valentino Rossi?

Up into eighth position now, ahead of Loris Capirossi.

There's Rossi, come from a long way back, try and fight through on the inside of Colin Edwards.

He really, really means business this afternoon.

He wants the battle, doesn't he?

And there's the man who will be taking his seat at the Fiat Yamaha team next year, Ben Spies.

And no way for Spies to fightback.

On board now with Valentino Rossi, the fastest rider on the circuit at the moment.

He desperately wanted the 46th win on a Yamaha.

He was in bad shape, but he fought for it.

Pulls up into fourth now, past Nicky Hayden.

Marco Simoncelli having a great race.

He's thrown Hayden as well.

Valentino Rossi closing right up now on Marco Simoncelli.

Rossi comes so, so late, taken third place.

Into Turn 1, Andrea Dovizioso takes over the lead in the race and runs Lorenzo slightly wide.

Rossi is just under 02:02:01, almost half a second quicker.

Rossi on the inside, how much distance between those two bikes as Rossi comes through.

Lorenzo runs in a little bit wide at Turn 1.

Here comes Rossi down into Turn 9.

Dovizioso running very wide there.

Here comes Dovizioso, down into Turn 1.

And Dovizioso takes over at the front once more, and Rossi fighting back.

Here comes Rossi on the inside, he's done it again.

He's back in front.

It's something incredible, that after seven seasons, I do exactly 46 victories with Yamaha.

It's something maybe written in the destiny, you know?

Valentino Rossi wins the Malaysian Grand Prix.

After all the broken leg, the shoulder injuries, Rossi is back.

It was great- Also I prefer to win 47, 48 or 49, but not less than 46-

Valentino Rossi rounds off the season with three podium finishes and third place overall in the championship.

He bids farewell to Yamaha in a letter to his beloved bike.

Many things have changed since that far-off time in 2004 when my M1 and I kissed for the first time on the grass at Welkom, when she looked straight in my eyes and told me, "I love you!"

Rossi inherits Stoner's volatile Ducati for 2011.

He has an operation to repair his shoulder after a first test, where he was 15th fastest.

I have a bad problem with the shoulder, so I don't understand the bike very well.

Now I make the surgery.

It's a question of getting the fitness back into Valentino.

The development and the setting for him will come more quickly then.

Valentino still has many things to do in motorcycling.

Now, it's like I am 10 years younger, no?

Because it's a new adventure starting from the beginning.

It's a great emotion, it's like we start from zero.

So, I hope to do this for some other seasons.

How many more races? How many more championships can he win?

Back in 1977, Giacomo Agostini walked away from Grand Prix racing after 14 seasons, unscathed and untouchable.

In 2012, as he chases Agostini's record of eight premier class championships and 122 Grand Prix victories, Valentino Rossi will be entering his 17th year in MotoGP.

But for every year that you push your bike and your body to the limit, you push your luck to the limit as well.

You can't be the fastest forever.

And when the red lights go out, nobody's looking back.

The past is behind you.

And there's only one question.

Who's fastest now?

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