This weekend will be the final race appearance for Valentino Rossi in America.
Rossi’s first US MotoGP win happened at Laguna Seca Raceway and Laguna remains his favorite American track.
I asked former Laguna Seca Raceway CEO Gill Campbell for her thoughts on Rossi taking his final American checkered flag. Here is what she said:
“When we first met with Dorna regarding bringing MotoGP back to the US, they were concerned about security for Valentino, my response was – “he is not anywhere near as well known in the US as he is in Europe, I don’t think it will be a problem” I watched with amazement in the coming years how this man won the hearts of everyone who saw him both on and off the track.
I met him at the first Red Bull US Grand Prix, where he proceeded to tell me “Gill (he pronounced it “shill”), we have a problem, turn 1– it is like a tunnel! You need to move the mountain on the right side!”
“On that “mountain” was the media center and besides the fact that we did not own the property! Thanks to the County of Monterey who gave their permission, Red Bull, Yamaha and Mazda for expediting sponsorship money – we moved the mountain 50 meters, built what was then the Red Bull Energy Center and the next year, Rossi got off his bike and kissed the corkscrew!”
“He has been an inspiration to the people who love this sport, but most of all, he is a genuine and extremely talented rider who has elevated this sport to how we see it today – Thanks Vale”