Valentino Rossi and MotoGP’s Perfect Wheel

What makes a true champion?  Talent, endurance, daring, competitive spirit and consistency may well lead the list.

The undeniably best-in-the-business, where all of these and more come into play, is MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi.

“The Greatest of All Time.” “All-Time #1.”  Simply “Brilliant.”

Year-after-year, global critics and millions of fans echo the praise for the nine-time (and counting) Grand Prix World Champion.

Valentino-Rossi-valentino-rossi-7270255-380-562       unnamed

Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA MotoGP GP Qatar 2017 (Circuit Losail) 23-26/03.2017 photo: MICHELIN

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What helps drive “the Doctor” to racing’s legendary heights?

Wheels are a very important element to any bike’s performance, be it a bicycle or a motorcycle–and even more so for a MotoGP bike.

Valentino-Rossi-Argentina-2015                         A578E481-C4B4-484A-A8E4-5319B7712EDC

Every extra gram counts adversely, making the entire system somewhat less responsive, as this is rotating un-sprung weight (unlike the frame and such).


However, the walls cannot be excessively thin, as any resulting vibration at cornering can have detrimental effect. There is a delicate balance between the right stiffness and the needed elongation.

Reducing wheel weight greatly improves steerability and increases the efficiency of the motorcycle’s chassis operation generally and the brakes in particular.

4AB3F06E-14F2-4FE7-A402-BBB5BC5B0B56    mot_1

So the front wheel weighs close to 2 kg, and its gyroscopic forces are expertly controlled by the rider’s body positioning/leaning–an effect known as precession, having to do with a gyroscope’s axis of rotation and the input force. The phenomenon is what causes the steering in motorcycles to be ‘counterintuitive,’ i.e., “Push left, turn left. Push right, turn right.”


Vale-Mugello-2013-valentino-rossi-34613531-700-1055     Vale-valentino-rossi-32837670-960-640  The forged magnesium wheels selected by Valentino Rossi and the Yamaha MotoGP team some years ago are made by MFR in Italy. Designed by magnesium wheels pioneer Roberto Marchesini, forged in Russia by SMW, this exclusive 6-spoke construction is optimized for precise weight and aerodynamics–in this contest of ultimate speed, even a small error can be fatal.

Forged magnesium wheels are 20%-25% lighter than forged aluminum alloys, at the same load factor, exhibit high damping capacity, which translates into a smoother ride with fewer jolts and vibrations. And they deliver a longer life for the brakes and suspension.



So, here’s to ‘Number 46,’ and every champion (and all weekend road warriors, too).

*Some of the material for this article was sourced from



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