MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi spent some time answering questions from his fans in a Dainese-sponsored webcast this morning from Italy. The questions came via Facebook, with Rossi reading the questions from an iPad and answering the questions in Italian with a translator turning those answers into English.
Here's a sampling of Rossi's answers to some of his fans' questions.
What role and in which film would you have liked to have played?
"Dan Aykroyd in Blues Brothers with John Belushi. That is my favorite film."
What do you think about the last rules limiting the motors and the electronics? Do you agree with these new rules?
"It's a difficult period in general for motorsport because of the economic situation and there aren't that many funds. We would like to race with our bikes as they are now - super technological, super performance. But there are less funds around to buy them so it's not a choice. We are obliged if we want to continue racing MotoGP with lots of bikes on the grid and a good show. We are going to have to ride bikes that are less performing and cost less and maybe be more fun. Let's hope for the best and have a good time with MotoGP."
Are you afraid of death?
"A little. I think everybody is afraid of death, especially us pilots. We risk a lot."
What do you do for your physical preparation in the winter?
"What I do in the winter is continue my training as in the summer. Up to January we are on holiday, but still I am in the gym. I do workout. I do a bit of aerobics as well - go running, jogging. Lots of sport, of course. A lot of bike riding, car racing, motocross, some enduro. We are building a track right here for a bit of flat track. I also do go-kart. I like to play football, soccer, with my friends. It's a mixed and fun preparation."
My dream is to be a pilot. How can I do that?
You have to start with a bike that is your size - minimoto. The Italians build the best nowadays. I recommend a racetrack near you. Find a minimoto racetrack and have fun.
What's your dream in MotoGP?
Win the championship again.
Which is your favorite helmet that you have used in your career?
I have used lots of helmets - good ones, special ones. I'd say this year's helmet... I like that one. I'd buy that one. And the one with the Mugello face, remember? A classic. I like that one.
How do you create the graphics of your helmets?
I've been working with Aldo Drudi, AGV and throughout the years it's been easy to work with AGV and they've always let us do what we want. So we have to say thank you. Aldo is the designer and he works and lives in Riccione so we see a lot of each other. We look for the idea, sometimes we have the idea ready, sometimes we have to adapt. In general we do the design together.
Do you like rally?
I like rallies. I have had this big passion from when I was a kid and my dad used to take me to rallies. When I stop racing bikes, I will do some serous rallying.
What do you think of CRT? Is this the solution for MotoGP?
I think CRT could have a future in MotoGP because they are very fast and very competitive and they cost less. I think the first year will be difficult; there will be a bit of difference. But then they will test and they will have a future.
What is your best moment and your worst moment from your career?
The worst moment was probably when I broke my leg at the Mugello racetrack. That was a bad moment. The best moment, there were lots, thank God, but I'd say the first victory at Welkom [South Africa] with the Yamaha. That was the best. The best moment of my career.
For 2012 how do you find the new Ducati?
I hope for the best. We've worked a lot this year and how to make the Desmo 16 better. We have a lot of new ideas to try with Filippo Preziosi and all the guys from Ducati. We are curious to see from the first test of next year in Sepang on the 31st of January... we will have a different bike and we can see if we are more competitive. I hope so.
Are you going to continue to use the helmet dedicated to Sic [Marco Simoncelli]?
I think I will continue to use it - at least for the winter tests and until April because the helmet is good. It looks good and I like it. And I like to remember Sic. But I think in the new season, I will be using my usual helmet but I will put something on it to remember him. I will have 58 somewhere. I will do that.
Would you come to my marriage ceremony?
I don't think so. I've been to some marriage ceremony, but I must say I don't have good fun. So a big kiss from far away and there we go.
On Twitter, you invited everyone to dinner...
It was a joke. A dinner for 500,000 people is a little difficult, you must understand. We're working on it and I'll let you know.
If you could, would you do like the old pilots - Agostini, Surtees, Read or Dunlop - and win the [Isle of Man] TT?
Just last night I was looking at a DVD - "Close to the Edge" and I recommend that. I don't think I can win the TT because it takes a lot of experience to understand the track. But it's a fascinating race. I've been there with Dainese four years ago, 2009... but I don't want to race it. It's just too dangerous.
Would you like to build your own team and debut in MotoGP?
I don't like that idea really. Maybe I could work on it. Maybe with my brother because he wants to become a pilot.
When are you going to produce a Valentino Rossi Junior?
I don't know. It's not in the program now, but I'll keep you're number and when I do it you can look after him for me.
You don't seem to say much to journalists about your adversaries like you used to do?
It's good fun, but most of the time you have to be diplomatic about it, don't exaggerate with journalists. It's better to be a bit diplomatic about it.
Which is your favorite race?
I said earlier my first victory at Welkom [with Yamaha], but I'd add Laguna Seca - the battle with [Jorge] Lorenzo.
When you finish with MotoGP, are you going to go to Superbike?
It would be fun, maybe. Superbikes are fun. We have to see how long I can be competitive in MotoGP. We will see in a few years.
What inspired you to use the sun and the moon on your helmets?
I went to Aldo when we were preparing the first helmet for the championship in '96 and Aldo said he would like to design a sun on your helmet. I said, ‘Okay, yeah, I like the sun." I liked the idea of it being divided - sun and the moon. The whole universe and from then on we always used the sun and the moon.
Was it more fun riding the old 1000 or the new 800 with all the traction control and electronics and things?
Of course the 1000 was a lot more fun. It had that sensibility when opening the gas because there was less help. It was more fun.
What music do you listen to?
I like all music... rock, pop, Italian music and discotheque music too.
What do you think of Roger Federer [the tennis star]?
I am one of his big fans. I know him. We speak to each other and he is a fan of mine. He is the most elegant of all.