Valentino Rossi: “Norick Abe was just great”

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Nine-time champion Valentino Rossi goes into raptures when he talks about the unforgettable Norifumi «Norick» Abe. The Japanese played a special role in the career of the future superstar.

For Valentino Rossi not only Kevin Schwantz played an important role. In an interview with SPEEDWEEK.com, the nine-time world champion emphasizes that the fearless Japanese Norifumi “Norick” Abe was an important figure for him: “Norifumi is also very important to me because when I was young I was passionate about the Japanese Driver.”

The drivers from the other end of the world fascinated the young Valentino. “They had completely different leather suits and Japanese helmets with different designs, that was something that came to us from far away,” he describes his fascination with, and recalls: “In my youth I knew a lot of Japanese drivers.”

“I had some very good friends from Japan, I got on particularly well with the Aoki brothers (Nobuatsu, Haruchika and Takuma, note), but also with Noboru Ueda and Kazuto Sakata,” reveals Rossi. “We competed against each other, and I also raced against Norick. I went crazy about him after his 1994 500cc debut in Suzuka. I can still remember watching this race and thinking to myself: ‘I want to be a GP driver’, “says the 42-year-old.

“I watched the recording of this race before school and was always late. I’ve seen this race maybe 1000 times. He was just great, ”enthuses Rossi. “When Norick died in a traffic accident on a scooter in 2007, it was very bad. That was incredibly sad, because he was also a very nice person, ”emphasizes the GP veteran, who at the beginning of his career called himself“ Rossifumi ”based on the name of his idol.

MotoGP final result drivers World Cup 2021 (after 18 races):

1st quarter 278 points. 2. Bagnaia 252. 3. Mir 208. 4. Miller 181. 5. Zarco 173. 6. Binder 151. 7. Marc Márquez 142. 8. Aleix Espargaró 120. 9. Martin 111. 10. Viñales 106. 11.Bastianini 102. 12. Pol Espargaró 100. 13. Rins 99. 14. Oliveira 94. 15. Nakagami 76. 16. Alex Márquez 70. 17. Morbidelli 47. 18. Rossi 44. 19. Marini 41. 20. Lecuona 39. 21 Petrucci 37th 22nd Bradl 14th 23rd Pirro 12th 24th Dovizioso 12th 25th Pedrosa 6th 26th Savadori 4th 27th Rabat 1st

Constructors’ championship:

1. Ducati 357 points. 2. Yamaha 309. 3. Suzuki 240. 4. Honda 214. 5. KTM 205. 6. Aprilia 121.

Team World Cup

1. Ducati Lenovo 433 points. 2. Monster Energy Yamaha 380. 3. Suzuki Ecstar 307. 4. Pramac Racing 288. 5. Repsol Honda 250. 6. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 245. 7. LCR Honda 146. 8. Esponsorama Racing 143. 9. Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 135th 10th Petronas Yamaha SRT 96th 11th Tech3 KTM Factory Racing 76th

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