Message from Valentino Rossi to Norick.
The last month has been a tragic period for me: two of my idols have dired, first Colin McRae and now Norifumi.
The news about Nori has hurt me in the deep of my heart and has made me really very sad. I remember that when I was younger I had many posters of him on the walls in my room. He is truly one of the few idols I have had in my career and that is why I decided to use the name "Rossifumi", because he was one of my greatest inspirations and if I am where I am, it is also thanks to him.
Maybe you will not believe it, but I clearly remember his 500cc debut in Suzuka as a wild card. What a race! He was there, fighting with Mick Doohan and Kevin Scwantz and they made an incredible number of overtaking! And in the following 3 or 4 months, before going to school, I used to make up very early and to watch the race again and again on TV, because it had been an extraordinary show! I like to remember Nori there, riding with his style, so special, with such great champions like he was! I am very lucky because I had the chance to ride with him: I remember Jerez 2001, for instance, with both of us on the podium.
I am really sad and I would like to make my condolences to his family and tell them that I am very close to them in this tragic moment. Norifumi will always live in our hearts.
Truly yours. Valentino Rossi