Nine-times world champion tests the Ferrari 488 Pista
Valentino Rossi’s racing record speaks for itself: nine motorcycle world championship titles has never been beaten. In the early 2000s, there were plenty of rumours he could step from MotoGP to Formula One. He even tested with Ferrari at Fiorano, and although he decided to remain on two wheels, the memories of his four-wheel foray have remained. It’s why he needed no instructions upon his return to Fiorano.
“I remember it,” he says, without hesitation. “Just tell me which part of the circuit it is where you need to lift your foot because of the noise…” Rossi is at Fiorano not to drive an F1 car, but to test something that for many is the next-best thing – the new Ferrari 488 Pista, a road-going sports car honed by racetrack expertise. Test driver Salvatore Prestigiacomo introduces the car to Rossi, who quickly hops in and puts on his distinctive new Mexican-themed helmet. Salvatore jumps in alongside Il Dottore – the Doctor, as Rossi is nicknamed in Italy – and the two head out for an installation lap.
Like the pro that he is, Rossi takes it steady, feeling the car, getting an eye for the lines. Then he passes the start line to complete his first lap, and immediately ups the tempo. Rossi and the 488 Pista have connected. It’s time to press on.