It’ll be a while before the Philippines will see one of its own compete in the MotoGP.
But that doesn't mean the country can't be represented in the pinnacle of motorcycle racing in the world.
Valentino Rossi, one of the greatest and most successful motorcycle racers of all time, promised to do something that'll surely please Filipino racing enthusiasts.
“I’ll be racing with the flag of the Philippines (on my motorcycle),” said Rossi, who is in the country together with Yamaha teammate Maverick Vinales for Saturday’s opening of the 8th Yamaha Grand Prix at Robinsons Novaliches.
Rossi, who also visited the country in 2014, has been pleased with the growing support for motorsports in the country.
He also said that it’s not impossible to have a Filipino rider competing someday at the MotoGP, despite the lack of world-class facilities in the country.
“For sure facilities are important . . . But it’s not impossible (to have a Filipino MotoGP racer). I think that all parts of the world, the following of MotoGP is growing. What’s important is that the people follow the races, take the passion for motorcycles,” said Rossi.
The 37-year-old Italian added that if someone stands out at the local Yamaha Grand Prix, he’d gladly train that person at the VR46 Riders Academy.
“We’re working together with Yamaha in the academy for the your riders,” said Rossi. “If we discover some fast rider in the Philippines, we can bring him there.”
For his part, Vinales said he’s glad to partner with Rossi in Yamaha.
The 22-year-old Spaniard, who won the Moto3 championship in 2013, placed 4th overall in the MotoGP Championship after winning the 2016 British Grand Prix.
He left Suzuki to sign up with Yamaha following the exit of Jorge Lorenzo.
“The target is quite clear. We want to bring the championship back. It’s important that we have a good relationship, we work together, we ride on a really good level,” said Vinales.
He said its a dream come true to team up with Rossi, who is someone he idolized as a kid.
When Rossi was asked what advice he could give his partner, the Doctor could not help but bare his competitive side.
“(Advice to Vinales?) To go slow,” Rossie quipped. “No it’s a joke, he’s already very strong and he doesn’t need advice.”
The two will be flying to Malaysia on Sunday.
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