It was all part of his promotional genius, and because he was tired of his previous inventions: “Rossifumi” when racing a crop of talented Japanese in 125cc; and a spell as “Valentinik”. Passing through Bologna airport there was an announcement paging Doctor Rossi (Rossi being a common name in Italy.)
It took his fancy.
Now, coming up for two decades later, The Doctor is having trouble with his patience (pardon the pun). At the time of writing, one week after team-mate Maverick Vinales ended Yamahas longest-ever 25-race win drought and a day after his own chances ended in a crash, he is setting worryingly bad records of his own.
As Vinales dominated Phillip Island (Marquez, by the way, eliminated by another rider’s crash), Rossi dropped to a disconsolate sixth. This at a favourite track where he claimed six of his 89 premier-class victories, and two of his seven championships.
Worse, or perhaps better and worse, would follow next time, at the Malaysian GP at Sepang. This was cruel, for fate dangled victory almost within his grasp. Then, under the relentless pressure of deadly enemy Marc Marquez, the youngster who seeks to supplant him as Greatest of All Time, he crashed. He had led every lap, until there were just four to go.
He doubtless remembered, as he picked himself up, that he is 39 years old, five-times new champion Marquez still just 25.