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GP Week : Issue 45
THE FAME GAME W hen Valentino rushed to the lavatory after last Sunday’s win at Jerez, he was not only reliving an old tradition of post-race pantomime, he was reviving an old joke. Serious students of speed- star showmanship took careful note. It’s not like Valentino to repeat himself. Of course, this was a carefully considered move: as much as any of his victory tableaux of the past. And it’s a long list: ranging from the innocent Robin Hood or mediaeval jailer costumes of his 125 days to the rather bizarre. In the latter category are Snow White and the Seven Dwarves for his seventh World Title, and the barely comprehensible besuited Italian notary public (pictured left) who ratified his eighth at Motegi last year. Several have been genuinely funny: the man in the chicken suit on the pillion (part of an even- longer running bit of mischief about an imaginary chicken- shack sponsor), the traffic cop giving him a speeding ticket on Mugello’s main straight … And especially the dash to the loo after the 250 race in 1999. Others, rather over-contrived, have fallen rather flat. But the point is that there are so many of them. That each one was different from the last went without saying. Does this make the Jerez repetition significant? Rossi confirmed that the stunt had, as always, been pre-orchestrated with his fan club. Which mainly means with best mate Uccio Salucci’s dad. They’d reminded him it was the tenth anniversary of “one of my funniest jokes”. He didn’t, he told GPWeek after the race, plan a replay of all of them. But he will, the next 36 Is R bec by