Valentino Rossi of Italy and Fiat Yamaha Team signs autographs for fans at a paddock area prior to free practice for the MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix of Japan at Twin Ring Motegi on April 24, 2009 in Motegi, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Valentino Rossi (Getty Images)more pics »Go anywhere in Europe and ask someone on the street if they're a fan of "The Doctor" and you'll likely hear a very long and passionate discourse about the greatest motorcycle racer the world has ever known. On June 27, 2009, at only 30 years old, Valentino Rossi (a.k.a. "The Doctor") won his 100th race. He's one of the highest paid athletes in the world (in 2008, he made $34 million) and chasing him down for an interview is no small task. So the strategy was to fire off as many questions as possible in the time given. Here's what we came up with.
Zimbio: What's one thing you can't do without?
Valentino Rossi: For sure my friends and family.
Zimbio: What has been your most frivolous purchase ever?
Valentino Rossi: To be honest I don’t buy so many silly things. Actually, I never buy silly things!
Zimbio: When did you know that you were special?
Valentino Rossi: I don’t really think about it, but when I started to win races in 125, that’s when I began to believe that I could really be a good rider.
Zimbio: When is the last time you met someone who didn't recognize you and they asked you what you do for a living?
Valentino Rossi: Not often enough, but I think maybe in New York last year, I’m not so famous in America and it’s very relaxing!
Zimbio: If you were interviewing you, what would you ask you?
Valentino Rossi: What did I say to my bike in Welkom… but I wouldn’t answer!
Zimbio: What has been your greatest victory so far in your career? That is, what specific race do you look back on and think, "wow, I'm really glad I won that race."
Valentino Rossi: Laguna last year for sure was amazing, because it was a turning point in the championship. But probably the greatest is still Welkom 2004, when I beat Biaggi to win my first race with Yamaha, because no one thought it was possible.
Zimbio: How do you know when you've gone too far?
Valentino Rossi: When I crash!
Zimbio: What country has the craziest fans?
Valentino Rossi: Italy!
Zimbio: What's the worst job you ever had before you were famous?
Valentino Rossi: I’ve only ever ridden bikes, since I was very young, so I can’t say anything.
Zimbio: Before you get on the bike, you always kneel down next to it. What's going through your mind?
Valentino Rossi: It’s just a moment to focus and ‘talk’ to my bike, like moving from one place to the next.
Zimbio: Who's the most famous person you've met?
Valentino Rossi: Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.
Zimbio: What do you collect?
Valentino Rossi: Turtles.
Zimbio: What is mankind's greatest invention?
Valentino Rossi: The motorbike?!
Zimbio: Who is your hero?
Valentino Rossi: In bikes, probably Mike Hailwood. And after riding at the TT, also Giacomo Agostini.
Zimbio: Do you have any regrets?
Valentino Rossi: None.
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