For being a motorcycle mega-brand in his own right, Valentino Rossi has been slow to adapt to this crazy new thing called the internet. A series of tubes, the internet has been a remarkable breakthrough on a variety of levels, changing the paradigm of how we eat, sleep, and waste our lunch breaks at work. Helping teenage girls gossip about their latest crushes, aiding in the massive distribution of pornography to middle-aged men who hide in their basements from their wives and children, and allowing no-talent journalistic hacks to masquerade around as proper motorcycle journalists, there is literally no telling how the internet will change our lives next, and what industries it will turn on their head.

Well get ready for another shockwave ladies and gentlemen, as the G.O.A.T. himself, Valentino Rossi, has hopped on this interweb bandwagon with full 0 & 1 force, first by finally creating his own official website, and now by signing up for a thing called Twitter. Tweeting, twatting, twittering so far in only Italian, Rossi was one of the last hold-outs of MotoGP riders to embrace the micro-blogging service (Randy de Puniet just got on Twitter this week too we might add. Thanks Lauren). Rossi’s move is sure to create a stir with the VR46 crowd, as his legion of fans can now take time out from their busy days of lathering neon yellow paint all of their bodies, and hang onto every one of Rossi’s 140 character messages.

So far, Rossi has tweeted about go-karting, his injured finger, and traveling to Melbourne. We wait with bated breath to see what photo the nine-time World Champion first tweets from his account. Bellissima.

In all seriousness though, it is interesting to see how long it’s taken the popular Italian rider to embrace marketing himself online and with social media. Perhaps the forefather and king of personal branding in motorcycle racing, Rossi is often credited as being a genius in promoting himself and his brand in the paddock. However when it comes to new technology, the Ducati Corse rider has been woefully behind the curve (on a side note, the MotoGP paddock as a whole is a bit slow on this whole “internet fad” thing, but that’s a different story for a different time). In a space where rival Jorge Lorenzo has over 270,000 followers, Rossi has a long way to go with his current 1,700 devote twitterees; though, we imagine as news of his digital hipness spreads this weekend, that number is surely going to skyrocket.

There’s an interesting parallel here about how MotoGP is changing, both from a (new) media perspective and from the age-old reality of new guns challenging the supremacy of the old guard. With Rossi’s supremacy on the track now being questioned, and certainly not helped by the ails of the Ducati Desmosedici, there begins as well an interesting dialogue of what purpose MotoGP serves its teams, rider, and more importantly sponsors. Is it enough to be a master on two wheels, or does a massive following of fans and marketable characteristics speak more loudly on racing’s ROI. We’re not sure, but Andrea Dovizioso might have some interesting insights.

Source: Davide Brivio (Twitter); Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

  • Beary

    Huh ? Rossi has had a really good website for ages now.

  • 7.713 followers now. More than 3000 in the last 12h. Not so bad for an egg-avatar user. I’ll bet he could beat Lorenzo also in followers…

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  • SBPilot

    Lorenzo has dismal followers considering how much he tries to promote his twitter. I wonder why…(rhetoric).

    Rossi will surpass a lot of people on twitter I’m sure. Randy de Puniet has 1500 without a single tweet! lol!

  • Rexr

    Who give a F**K….really

  • keet

    Rexr, thank you! i LOVE motorcycle racing, aside from a short post-race interview, i couldn’t care less what they have to say!

  • 305ed

    12,706 hangers-on at 4:20 EST… LMAO!

  • Andre

    “Valentino Rossi has been slow to adapt to this crazy new thing called the internet”
    No… he’s just been too busy with REAL life to waste his time chatting mindlessly to people he will never meet…. many others in the world are also busy getting things done. Not everyone wanders aimlessly through the interweb time sucking chit chat machine called Twitter. I mean come on, there’s a reason why its call “twitter”!

  • Jake Fox

    Y’all do recognize the irony of criticizing social media by commenting on a blog, right?

  • mxs

    Not really. Big difference in my opinion between blog as such (or any other motorcycle related website) and Twitter or Facebook. There’s something called informational value. Twitter and Facebook come at zero for me and many other people I know of.

  • Jake Fox
  • Andre

    I think you should focus on the content….
    Social media such as Twitter exchange dribble.
    Places like A & R are fantastic sources of useful and interesting information.

  • Thanks guys, but to be honest, if you want the latest inside MotoGP info, you should be on Twitter. There’s lot’s of good stuff coming from riders, teams, and members of the paddock being shared 140 chars at a time.

  • Andre

    Thanks for the suggestion but I find your work excellent; we get the “meat” without any of the nonsense right here. Not sure about others but I do not have the time to pick through 140 character snippets to find out what is going on….. its all about efficient use of time. When you are really busy (like owning your own business) this site is great.

  • Beary

    I agree with Jensen. I have only just created a twitter account after I saw a friend getting heaps of inside info and pictures straight from the riders and team mechanics. It’s a fantastic information resource for fans of MotoGP and also can be very, very funny.

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  • Elena

    ” it is interesting to see how long it’s taken the popular Italian rider to embrace marketing himself online and with social media. ” He don’t need to marketing !!!! He’s too busy to be awesome than wasting time with social networks!

  • Beary

    Actually – it takes older people a while to embrace twitter, far longer than shall we say under 25’s. Twitter is still seen by the older generations as being full worthless drivel. I viewed it this way for years, I’m 44 so I’m no spring chicken.

    What most people who don’t use Twitter don’t know is that you control the content. You follow the people you want to follow, so no content that you get is worthless – unless the people you follow are worthless. Then you have no-one to blame but yourselves. Just cause Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher get the Twitter headlines, doesn’t mean you are automatically subscribing to their vaccuous drivel.

    Try it. You’ll get WAY more rounded views of riders and teams mindsets than the media will bring you. By dismissing it outright you’re just burying your head in the sand.