Valentino Rossi, the recently crowned MotoGP World Champion, made a historic journey to Yamaha's head office today (November 19) in Iwata Japan to visit the facility and the people that supported his 2004 campaign. He also received a personal 'thank you' from the company's president Mr. T. Hasegawa. The flamboyant Italian arrived at Yamaha Motor's Communication Plaza, by helicopter and was greeted by the huge applause of management and factory staff upon his arrival.
After receiving a personal message from Mr. T. Hasegawa, Valentino then made a number of appearances throughout the Yamaha complex before participating in the official press conference. It was during this moment that Mr. T. Hasegawa presented Valentino a certificate of ownership for one YZR-M1 - the very YZR-M1 which he piloted to his sixth world title.
"Valentino Rossi is more than the world's best motorcycle racer; he is a personality that is not limited to just the confines of the MotoGP championship," explained Mr. T. Hasegawa. "From the moment you work with Rossi you instantly become a fan, and you are naturally driven to give more than 100 percent to support him. It is this very trait, and his ability as a rider that led to him winning the world title in his first year. Because of this skill and personality I am proud to present Valentino with the YZR-M1 as a sign of our appreciation for his efforts this year."
A very happy Rossi said: "This is the best gift I could wish for. I must say thank you to Yamaha and Mr. Hasegawa for giving me my very own M1 to take home. I'm not sure where I will keep it, maybe next to my bed, or maybe in a safe at a bank."
Valentino then moved on to a private tour of the Yamaha prototype factory where the components of his YZR-M1 are produced, before attending an official Yamaha championship celebration dinner in his honor in nearby Hamamatsu.
Valentino now moves on to Malaysia for his second test aboard the 2005 YZR-M1.