Thursday, 30 September 2010

When GI met Valentino Rossi

Do you ever get so excited about an idea that you can't talk properly because your mouth is grinning so much? Well, that's what happened when Michele the editor of GQ Italia rang to say he'd like me to interview Valentino Rossi for the cover story of his next issue. Er... OK!
I flew into Milan, met up with Michele, then drove four hours to Pesaro, just ten minutes from Rossi's home in Tavullia. The next day we went to a great photo studio and prepared everything. There was a whole team there: Michele, James the photographer, Amber his assistant, two lighting guys, the fashion editor, the assistant fashion editor, a make-up fella, a driver and me. Oh, and two catering staff.
There must have 80 different outfits, 40 pairs of shoes and boots, 100 ties, 40 belts and three fake moustaches. The vast majority of it remained unused. Valentino turned up 45 mins late. This is pretty much on time for him. He did the photos over the next two hours, then we carried out the hour-long exclusive interview. Mat Oxley told me this was quite a big deal because VR stopped doing one-to-one interviews before the season started and Yamaha cancelled all the ones he had booked in because (I'm guessing) they didn't want him talking up Ducati (the only thing any of the bike mags would want to talk about). But Michele and Valentino go way back and he agreed to do this.
The cover line translates (roughly) as:
'You're not having my scalp!
When you are hurt and young can smell your blood, they get the courage to attack you'
The magazine comes out on the newsstands tomorrow. Go buy ten. He's quite rude about a certain Spaniard.
Behind the scenes photos below. GI
UPDATE: I should remind everyone that Valentino gave us permission to run an exclusive English version of a story he wrote for GQ Italy. It's in Sideburn 4.
En route. Check out the shadow.
Valentino in a smart Gucci suit being shot by James Mollison. More about him at a later date.
I don't know for sure if these are Valentino's two favourite magazines, but I think it's safe to assume.
A present for VR.
VR's stuff. Lid, one-off Ray-Bans, Blues Brother keyring. iPhone.
'Okay, but no tongues.'


peterfromhungary said...

Wow Gary, i buy 20 and CONGRATULATION, it something unbelievable

Giannis said...

Nice one G! i asked an Italian Friend to pick some for me too....

Dan Anslow said...

Good work mate - you look suitably happy in last pic!

cookey said... with his helmet in his personal effects, he rode to the interview? and if so what did he ride? or maybe not but that's interesting to me...

anyhow nice one man... and flown to Italy for the pleasure!

Stuka said...

Well cool mate...!!

Karla said...


Anonymous said...

Lol, is that Jordi driving the Porsche??

Marcus_of_MarcusMotoDesign said...

Great work, Gary!


I will buy the issue and shape up my italian!

BTW: Will you bring same staff to Sweden?

Cheers, Marcus

Pete Stansfield said...

The top blog post.....ever.

paolo chiaia said...

Wonderful job Gary. I am going today to buy and read it.
It was great to meet you here.

paolo chiaia said...

Wonderful job Gary. I am going today to buy and read it.
It was great to meet you here.

Mick P said...

I'm not going to big Gary up about this 1) because his head is already too big to get into any normal-sized helmet and 2) I tend to take for granted what a great journalist he is. But this was a fantastic coup.
The quote on the cover is more like:
"When you're injured and you can smell blood, the younger ones are emboldened and look to tear you to shreds."
Oh, and typical Italian, on the bloody phone while driving.

streetracker said...

Great GI. You have at least brought home a fake moustache?

Unknown said...

I never buy GQ but this time I surely will!

Nice one, Gary

Diplomate said...

Re the bottom pic - Twins !!!! That explains a lot - riding style obviously being one of them.

Anonymous said...

did you quiz him about dirt track?.
does he fancy doin a harvey mushman!!..

Paul Harrison said...

Rock on GI,Respect!! Just don't try any fancy stuff on sunday!

ITALIAN MOTOR magazine said...

I'm green with envy - great job and lucky you..

Sideburn Magazine said...

To answer some of the questions.
1. The helmet was just brought by VR as a prop, he arrived in a BMW.
2. He's building his own dirt track oval and may be getting a Zaeta to ride there.

Paul Harrison said...

If he wants some oppo to practise against my passports upto date!!

The Vintagent said...

You would not French kiss Valentino Rossi? What the hell is wrong with you? ;)