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Nine-Time Motorcycle Champion Valentino Rossi Has Coronavirus

Illustration for article titled Nine-Time Motorcycle Champion Valentino Rossi Has Coronavirus
Photo: Valentino Rossi

The 41-year-old motorcycle racing G.O.A.T. announced Thursday on Twitter that he woke up not feeling well and immediately submitted himself to testing for the global hell virus that has plagued us these many months. The initial quick test result was negative, but a second more trustworthy test was sent off to labs and confirmed a positive result. Because Vale will now need to quarantine until he recovers, he will be forced to miss both this weekend’s race at Aragon as well as next weekend’s.

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Following the MotoGP race at Le Mans last Sunday, the Italain left the circuit and returned home to Tavullia, Italy. As with all members of the MotoGP paddock who return home between races, he was tested on the 13th and came back negative. Wednesday the former champion trained all day at home and felt perfectly fit and ready to race. Thursday morning he awoke feeling ill and tested positive.

According to reports from MotoGP itself, “During Rossi‘s stay at his home from Sunday night (11th October) to today (15th October), he has NOT been in contact with any person that is currently present at the Gran Premio de Aragon, including VR46 Academy riders, VR46 staff, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team members etc.”

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And here’s what Yamaha Motorsport managing director Lin Jarvis had to say about the whole thing:

“This is very bad news for Valentino and very bad news for the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team and for all MotoGP fans around the world. First and foremost we hope Valentino will not suffer too much in the coming days and will recover fully in the shortest time possible. It comes as a second blow for our MotoGP operations having faced the absence of Project Leader Sumi-san and five YMC engineers at the Le Mans race after one member tested positive – despite being fortunately totally asymptomatic.

“These two incidents remind us that no matter how careful you are, the risk is always present - as we see with the rising numbers of infections in Europe at this time. We have checked with the Italian health authorities and we have been advised that any member of our team that was in contact with Valentino up until Monday is excluded from direct risk. Nevertheless, we will be even more attentive from now on to minimise the chance for any future issues.”

Rossi has already suffered four retirements in the 2020 season, including the last three GPs in a row. It was already highly unlikely that he would recover enough points to gain another championship, but missing the next two rounds, at a minimum, will surely put him out of contention.

The good news is that as an active participant in the highest two-wheel form of racing, he is both extremely physically fit and extremely wealthy, two very good signs that point toward the racer making a full recovery. I hope that he will be back to racing fit without major long-term effects from the virus in record time. Get well soon, VR.

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.

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DISCUSSION

For those Jalops who don’t follow MotoGP, the best way to convey what Rossi means to the sport is by highlighting the passion of his loyal fan base. A few years back in Austin for the race, walking with my brother I came on the perfect analogy: Rossi’s fans are like Pittsburgh Steeler fans— they travel EVERYWHERE, they yell LOUD, and they wear YELLOW with everything.