Rossi started his career from the 125cc class in 1996. As a new kid, he looked at several rider Japan as a religion.
The Doctor admires everything from racing costumes to helmets to track style. However, out of a line of racers from the Land of the Rising Sun, Abe looks the coolest.
Rossi grew up watching the Yamaha rider fight in the 500cc class. They eventually became rivals from 2000 to 2004.
In that period, the young racer immediately stuck his fangs. Italian youth so runner-up 2000 season, while Abe is in eighth place.
“Norifumi is very important to me because my third is young, I’m crazy about Japanese racers,” said rider who has now retired from MotoGP to Speedweek.com.
“Japanese racers have racing costumes made of different leathers and Japanese helmets with different designs. It was like something that came to us from afar.
“I was infatuated with him after his 500cc debut in 1994, at Suzuka. I still remember watching him in this race and saying to myself, ‘I want to be a racer grand prize. ‘”
He shot a video of the 1994 Suzuka race and continued to watch in awe. In fact, nicknamed himself Rossifumi.
“I watched the video footage of the race before going to school, as a result I was always late. I saw that maybe a thousand times. He’s great,” he said.
After October 7, 2007, Rossi had to say goodbye to his idol who died in a traffic accident.
“When Norick died in a traffic accident on a scooter in 2007, it was really hard. It was very sad, because he was such a lovely person,” the 42-year-old recalled.
Rossi also befriended many of the Japanese riders who competed with him on the track. In fact, the friendship lasted until now.
“When I was younger, I got to know a lot of Japanese racers,” he said. “I have very good friends from Japan, especially the Aoki brothers (Nobuatsu, Haruchik and Takuma), but also Noboru Uead and Kazuto Sakata,” he revealed.
“We competed against each other, and I raced against Norick.”
Norifumi Abe, Yamaha Roberts
Photo by: Rikita