Finishing the Austin MotoGP at a disappointing sixth place after a tremendous second podium in Qatar, Valentino Rossi took to the Charlotte Motor Speedway, but this time on four wheels. Caged inside a 650 bhp V8 Toyota Camry belonging to three time NASCAR champion Kyle Busch, Rossi took part in a promotional event for Monster Energy Racing clocking a top speed of 185 mph (297 kph) on track.
As usual being excited at any event, the nine time MotoGP World Champion said “At the beginning it was a bit strange because it’s difficult to go straight. But after some laps, I had a lot of confidence and I was able to go faster and faster and faster. I must say I got along very well with Kyle. He’s a good guy. I like him and he gave me a lot of important advice. It was so cool to understand the feeling! I have a lot of friends from Europe and Italy who follow NASCAR. It looks like it’s a completely different type of racing than what we do in Europe and I expected something more like this –exciting, high speed and a great feeling in the corner. In the bank you have a lot of grip, so you are glued on the racetrack. It was great, I enjoyed it a lot. I love driving the race car, and I always have, so it was exciting to drive a NASCAR.”
Impressed by Rossi’s drive, Busch expressed ““I thought it was a really cool experience and it also helps when you have two guys who are enthusiastic about their sport and have a good mantra about it. I think Rossi is a really cool dude. We were just having fun, hanging out together. To me, I thought the experience was awesome. It’s cool Monster Energy brought us together, it was a lot of fun. Just getting the feeling of asking him about his sport and him asking me about NASCAR a little bit. Just having the dialogue there was good. And as far as driving the car, I thought he did pretty good. He started out a little slow, which is fine, but every lap he picked it up a lot. He got to where he was running some competitive lap speeds – times that would put him in the top-15 in Nationwide Series practice. That’s pretty good for a guy in his first start, who is just coming over and getting used to things and someone that is used to driving on two wheels.”
Rossi fans would love Busch’s comment on “The Doctor”, but then give the Italian any set of wheels and he’ll ensure that he absolutely floors it. We hope he puts up a good show at Jerez next month!
Image credits: MotoGP.com