In Manila visit, MotoGP champ Valentino Rossi shares thoughts on local traffic

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 14 2018 06:39 PM | Updated as of Sep 14 2018 06:40 PM

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi returned to the country as a treat to his Filipino race fans on Valentine’s Day. Not only that, he boarded an LRT coach together with Yamaha Racing teammate Maverick Viñales.

The two got on the Roosevelt station and rode the train until Monumento on Wednesday.

Rossi, regarded as one of the most successful motorcycle racers of all time with 9 Grand Prix world titles, warmly greeted fans upon emerging from the train at Monumento.

“It's a day full of love in Manila as they say,” said the Italian racer, on his third Manila visit. 

“It was a great experience,” Rossi, known in MotoGP circles as “The Doctor,” said of his LRT ride. “We also tried to go fast with the train.”

The visit was part of Yamaha’s unveiling of its “Yamaha Monumento Station,” the first ever Yamaha train station. As an appreciation for the duo's visit, they were honored with their own star at the terminal similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“It was special. I didn't expect there's one train station called Yamaha,” said Viñales, known as the “Top Gun.” “They gave us like the star of the train station and that was amazing for me.”

Spaniard Viñales, in his second Philippine visit, said it has always been fun to visit Manila because of the local crowd.

“They have a lot of passion, that's something I really like, they are really kind and polite. That's something I appreciate,” he said.

Rossi, who has been racing for 24 years now, has won 4 MotoGP championships for Yamaha in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009.

The 38-year-old said he isn't contemplating retirement yet. 

MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi of Italy takes the LRT on Wednesday. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi of Italy takes the LRT on Wednesday. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi of Italy takes the LRT on Wednesday. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Italian MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi and Spanish Yamaha teammate Maverick Viñales meet the press and the fans. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Italian MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi and Spanish Yamaha teammate Maverick Viñales meet the press and the fans. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Italian MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi and Spanish Yamaha teammate Maverick Viñales meet the press and the fans. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Italian MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi and Spanish Yamaha teammate Maverick Viñales meet the press and the fans. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Spanish Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Italian MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi and Spanish Yamaha teammate Maverick Viñales meet the press and the fans. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

So what's the secret to his longevity?

“I think the passion for riding the motorcycles for races . . . I always enjoy a lot when I'm on my bike, so maybe this is the secret,” he said.

Viñales, the 2009 rookie of the year, said working with Rossi meant learning a lot on the track.

“Having Valentino on the team, you always try to learn a little bit, then you work hard trying to win as rider of the team. We're great with each other,” said Viñales, who finished third in the 2017 MotoGP championship.

Rossi also gave a few tips to Filipino riders looking to become MotoGP riders.

“First of all you should have the passion, you enjoy a lot when you ride. You try to understand if you have enough skills and if you ride fast,” he said. “From that moment, you have to train and try to understand the way to be faster.”

So what is his opinion about commuting in Manila?

"There's a lot of traffic, a big confusion," said the MotoGP legend. "A lot of people around, but it's a great place."

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)