Belfast Telegraph

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Rossi falls in love with Isle of Man

Legendary Italian Valentino Rossi, the current MotoGP World Champion, made his Isle of Man TT debut yesterday, performing a fast parade lap with friend and fellow Italian Giacomo Agostini.

Rossi was chaperoned around various vantage points by former racer and now TT commentator Steve Parrish, during the Dainese TT Superbike race and although the tall and slim sporting icon was dressed in an oversized dark fleece and baseball cap, he couldn’t escape the well-informed TT fans.

After being mobbed on-track, both Rossi and Agostini joined Dainese TT Superbike winner John McGuinness and his Honda wingmen Steve Plater and Guy Martin on the podium, handing out the garlands and champagne, before departing on their aptly named Lap of the Gods.

Rossi enthused about his lap afterwards, explaining candidly in his own style of broken English: “I follow Giacomo, but it impossible to go fast as I don’t know what is around the corners.”

And with a cheer going up from 30 hand selected journalists in the Dainese press conference he added: “It’s a great show and as a spectator it is impressive. I will have to come back and maybe do five or six laps next time.”

Rossi also had an interesting one-to-one conversation with fellow Dainese sponsored rider Guy Martin, what he thought was away from the press, but he didn’t escape my fully charged dictaphone on the table, that thankfully hadn’t been turned off!

Martin said: “Donington and some of those other circuits in the UK are rubbish; this is the best place in the world to race Vale.”

“But there are no gravel traps,” added Rossi. “Only trees and walls all around this place, but it is very fast and loads of fun and I would love to race!”

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