> MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi made his comeback behind the wheel of a Ferrari on Thursday as he began a two-day test - purely for fun - at the Italian team’s Mugello circuit. Rossi’s car was fitted with his famous number 46 to mark the occasion, as both parties celebrated their victorious 2008 seasons.
Rossi is no stranger to Formula One power, having previously tested with Scuderia Ferrari in 2005 and 2006 at Fiorano, Mugello and Valencia, and after 320 kilometres in the F2008 it was clear he hadn’t lost his touch, with some impressive lap times, the best a 1m 22.55s.
“I’m really happy that I had this possibility and I want to thank President Luca di Montezemolo and (Ferrari team principal) Stefano Domenicali for it,” said Rossi at the end of the day. “Driving a Ferrari Formula One car on a track like Mugello is something fantastic and incredible.
“It’s great to work with people on such a high level, like those who were at the track with me today. We’ve done some pretty good work, very professional, and we tried to improve lap after lap. I’m satisfied and I hope I can do it again tomorrow.”
Watching Rossi’s efforts, Domenicali commented: “It’s really nice to be here, celebrating a great season with numerous victories, here at home. Mugello is one of our tracks and also a circuit where Valentino has won several times, winning in some extraordinary races.
“It’s two days of pure fun for us and Vale, although we’re doing serious work; you can see that how he prepared himself physically. Vale would have been an excellent Formula One driver, but he chose a different road. He’s part of our family and that’s why we wanted to give him this opportunity; we’re happy to be together once again; two Italian symbols like Ferrari and Valentino Rossi.”