Valentino Rossi, (born February 16, 1979 in Urbino), is an Italian professional motorcycle racer and multiple MotoGP World Champion. He is one of the most successful motorcycle racers of all time, with nine Grand Prix World Championships to his name â a record seven of which are in the premier class. Following his father, Graziano Rossi, Rossi started racing in Grand Prix in 1996 for Aprilia in the 125cc category and won his first World Championship the following year. From there, he moved up to the 250cc category with Aprilia and won the 250cc World Championship in 1999. He won the 500cc World Championship withHonda in 2001, the MotoGP World Championships (also with Honda) in 2002 and 2003, and continued his streak of back-to-back championships by winning the2004 and 2005 titles after leaving Honda to join Yamaha, before regaining the title in 2008 and retaining it in 2009. He left Yamaha to join Ducati for the 2011 season. Rossi is first in all time 500 cc/MotoGP race wins standings, with 79 victories, and second in all time overall wins standings with 105 race wins (behind Giacomo Agostini with 122).