MotoGP. From Valentino Rossi to Dani Pedrosa, the riders passed from motorcycles to cars

Sunday 15 May Rossi and his friends from MotoGP will race at a distance of 300 km: Valentino with the cars at Magny Cours for the GT World Challenge, his guys from the VR46 Academy at Le Mans for the French GP (both events will be broadcast live on Sky). It is an opportunity to take a dip in the past, to discover the other riders who have passed from the handlebars to the steering wheel. Not only that: let’s review who in the past managed to win both with bikes and with cars

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Chance, or rather the calendar, brings them close. Valentino Rossi Sunday 15 May will run a Magny Cours the third stage of GT World Challenge, the championship for series-production sports cars to which the “Doctor” is dedicating his second competitive life. About 300 km away, a Le Manshis former two-wheel adventure companions will take to the track for the seventh round of the MotoGP. So close as to trigger memories and nostalgia of a world just left after having been its reference for over twenty years.

From Lorenzo to Pedrosa, the pilots who went “behind the wheel”

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GTWC at Brands Hatch: Valentino Rossi eighth

Valentino’s passion for four wheels is a dream shared by many world championship champions before him and one that some of his historical rivals are chasing like him. Jorge Lorenzowho shared the box Yamaha with Rossi from 2008 to 2016 (with the parenthesis of the two-year period 2011-2012) last Sunday he made his debut in the Porsche Carrera Cup Italian: a first not exactly exciting, in light of the accident that put him out of the race, but on the other hand, the transition from the handlebars to the steering wheel is never taken for granted. On the contrary. Dani Pedrosawhich Rossi faced in MotoGP from 2006 to 2018, is doing a little better in Lamborghini Super Trofeo who saw him busy last month in Imola, where he earned an honorable fourth place in the category, but it is a spot presence (he should run two more races) cut out among his commitments as a KTM test driver. Many others have tried it in the past with mixed success. However the love of the track seems an irresistible lure for those who have spent their sporting life chasing dreams of glory on a racing bike. And for some reason, motorcyclists are hopelessly drawn to the four-wheel challenge.

Who managed to win in cars and motorcycles

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The new Rossi “coach”: enjoying Bagnaia’s pole position

To date, only one rider has been able to establish himself in the two fields, at the highest level: John Surtees was able to win four titles in 500 with the MV (between 1956 and 1960), and others three with the same house in 350before moving on to Formula 1 with Ferrari. With the Maranello house, the English champion won the 1964 world championship, the pinnacle of a career that no one has been able to repeat. Giacomo Agostini tried it, but only after refusing Ferrari’s offer in 1966 to continue racing in the World Championship. After his unrepeatable (at least for now) motorcycle career (15 titles between the 350 and 500 class), the Bergamo champion moved on to cars, first in Formula 2 and then in Aurora Formula 1, but without significant results. Her friend and rival Mike fared better than her Hailwood, who after having conquered nine laurels in the world championship, at the end of his career he moved to Formula 1 where he raced for four seasons (between 1963 and 1974), winning two podiums, also graduating world champion in F2 in 1972. The accident at the Nurburgring in ’74 , at the wheel of the F1 McLaren eventually forced him to retire. Irony of fate the year before Mike the Bike had saved Clay Regazzoni’s life in South Africa, pulling him out of the burning car. In chronological order the last striking case remains that of Johnny Cecottoworld champion in the 350 class in 1975 (and in 750 in 1978), who then raced in F1 for two seasons, from 1983 to 1984 (and found himself in the team with Ayrton Seine the second season). These remain the best known episodes of a predominantly one-way passion for now.

The car racers who have dreamed of motorcycles

Many racing wheel champions loved motorcycles, and perhaps envied motorcyclists, but could not ride them for contract reasons. Michael Shumacher he vented his motorcycling impulses after retiring from F1: he tried it on several occasions Ducati from MotoGP and dedicated himself with commitment to improving his skills in the saddle (under the expert guidance of Randy Mamola) up to racing in the German Superbike. Kimi Raikkonenfans of off-road motorcycles, was “satisfied” with managing the official team Kawasaki in the Cross World Championship. A very professional way to vent this passion.

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