Recently, we learned that the Italian racer collects bikes that he has ridden for MotoGP – and there’s one, in particular, that’s coming with a bit of drama.
According to a report from SuperBike Planet, Honda’s got a bike in their museum that was Rossi’s first MotoGP title-winning 500cc bike from 2001. That NSR500 was purportedly brought out for the racing legend to sit on at his career-ending GP at Valencia a few weeks back, ‘rekindling’ his desire to have it in his collection.
“I speak with Alberto, and I asked for – minimum – the 500, also because that 500 is my 500,” Rossi said in a statement on AutoSport.
“It’s the bike that Honda was supposed to give to me, and I was ready to take, I had already the place at home [for it]…but for some reason, the bike never arrived. I’m happy if Honda change the idea and gave me that one.”
“For sure, the bike will stay well, at a good temperature, and have a good place at my house.”
A reminder to the good readers: Rossi’s history with Honda isn’t the cleanest portfolio on the track. Between Rossi’s leaving for Yamaha when Honda wanted the Italian to re-sign with HRC, and the bit of chaos between Rossi and Marc Marquez “[where] Honda was on the verge of issuing ‘proof’ that Rossi had kicked Marquez’s Honda after the pair collided on-track in 2015 (but Honda was instructed by Dorna not to release the video footage)”, it’s safe to say that Rossi’s request for the bike might require more than a ‘pretty please.’
Alberto Puig, team boss for Honda, responded with the following when asked if Honda would consider Rossi’s request for the NSR500:
“Well, it’s a tricky story…soI cannot answer, but this bike is also very important for us because we have it in a museum. Honda is very proud of the titles that we got, and also with the titles that Valentino got for us together…so, I’m sure we want to have this as a very important trophy in our house to show to our fans that we were capable of winning that title with that bike.”
If we’re placing bets, my $5 is on Honda keeping the bike – though it would be amazing if Rossi could add the machine to his collection (especially given his collection is so extensive already – check out some of his collection via a Youtube vid here).
We’ll keep you posted on any other updates as they come down from the pipeline; in the meantime, be sure to check out other related news from our archives, and as always – stay safe on the twisties.