Record-breaking multiple MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi has confessed that he was 'very surprised' to see just how much support he has in Thailand as he and FIAT Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo paid a pre-season visit to the capital of the Far Eastern country, Bangkok.
Following the opening group test of 2010 at Sepang in Malaysia last week, Rossi and Lorenzo headed north to Bangkok to conduct a two-day promotional visit for Thailand Yamaha Motor. The first stop on the duo's agenda was the Yamaha Riders Club, where they enjoyed a meet-and-greet with Yamaha VIP customers before taking part in an exclusive TV interview with the Thailand Night Show.
The following day, the pair – respectively first and third-fastest overall at Sepang attended a press conference for national media, and subsequently appeared on-stage in front of almost 10,000 fans to unveil the new Yamaha Nuovo 150cc. Both riders then rode a couple of laps on special #46 and #99 replica versions of the new model, to the evident delight of the many fans present.
Before leaving, Rossi and Lorenzo had the chance to meet the president of Thailand Yamaha Motor Mr. Nagashima, as well as Mr. Yanagi, who will be the Yamaha Motor Company's new president as of 25 March. Both riders have now returned to Europe to enjoy a short rest before the next test, which takes place later this month, once more at Sepang.
“This has been my first visit to Thailand,” revealed record-breaking nine-time world champion Rossi, “and I was very surprised by the number of fans I have here! Yamaha arranged an excellent event for their customers, and I am sure the new model will have huge success. I have touched with my hands the great passion and enthusiasm that Thai people have for motorcycles and for MotoGP here.
“I would like to thank Nagashima-san and Yanagi-san, as well as all TYM staff and Yamaha customers, for their invitation, kindness and hospitality. I really look forward to coming to Thailand again in the future, and I hope that MotoGP fans will increase even further.”
“This was my second visit to Thailand,” added 2009 MotoGP World Championship runner-up Lorenzo, “and I am always happy to come here. The people are incredibly kind, and their hospitality and passion for MotoGP is something unbelievable.
“Thailand is one of the most important markets for Yamaha, and I hope that our visit here will give a further push to Thailand Yamaha Motor's business and will increase the number of MotoGP fans in this country. Many thanks to TYM and YMC top management for their invitation.”