Valentino Rossi was born on February 16, 1979 at Urbino, Italy. His father was a former motorcycle racer who encouraged his son to take up racing. Rossi took to karting at a very young age. At the age of five, he was riding a kart with a 100cc motor. At the age of 11, he won the regional kart championships in 1990. Next he finished an impressive 5th at the national kart championships at Parma.
Rossi was looking into going into the European series or the Italian 100cc competitions which would lead him to Formula 1. But Rossi shifted to minimoto, because of the high costs of racing karts which his father could not afford.