Seems so, as Vale has today completed two days of testing a 2008 Formula 1 car from Ferrari at Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona, Spain.
The Italian supercar maker has posted info on its website proudly boasting that even the online edition of the New York Times reported on Rossi’s testing on its homepage—a prominent location indeed considering the 9-time MotoGP champion’s limited notoriety here in the U.S. relative to his fame in Europe and much of the rest of the world.
This isn’t the first time Rossi has tested with Ferrari. In 2008 he spent time behind the wheel of a bright red F1 car at Mugello.
Rossi thanked Ferrari for giving him the “present” of testing the car these past two days. Considering Rossi’s age (31 on Feb. 16) it’s hard to imagine him embarking on a new career racing F1, but in light of this additional round of tests in a two year span and Rossi’s exceptional talent for racing, it doesn’t seem unreasonable for Rossi to make the leap.
On the other hand, given the world’s love of Valentino Rossi, its feasible to think that Ferrari did this just because they like him.
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Montmelò, 21 January 2010 – At the end of the two days of the test sessions with Valentino Rossi on the Montmelò circuit, he had more than 600 kilometers on the clock. After today’s wet opening, just like yesterday, which complicated the start, the test dedicated to the Champion from Tavullia with the F2008, provided by Maranello’s F1 Clienti department, was concluded with great results to the utmost satisfaction of the team.
Valentino was extremely happy with his lap time of 1.21.900, clocked on the penultimate lap, almost over the time limit the team was allowed to use the Catalan track: “We kept the last three quarters of an hour to try a ‘time attack’ with little petrol and fresh tyres. I would have given anything for such a lap time.” Rossi said that he had much more fun compared to his last experience in Mugello in November 2008. “It’s more fun here, because it’s a little bit easier. It’s more effort in Mugello, but this track here is really wonderful, with motorbikes and cars, although I have to say that turn 10 is a little tight (the one with the spins) and you’re braking much later.”
Luca Baldisserri commented on the “Doctor’s” adventure positively: “We tried different set ups and he improved a lot: this means that the driver learns quickly and has room for improvement.” Before Valentino left the track he wanted to thank the whole team: “I want to thank Ferrari, but especially Domenicali and Montezemolo, for giving me this present.”