Valentino Rossi has once again been named the highest-compensated motorcycle racer, according to a newly released list by Forbes. Rossi, 33, took in an estimated $30 million between June 2011 and June 2012. Rossi’s earnings consist of $17 million in salary from Ducati and $13 million in endorsements.
Highest Paid Motorcycle Rider
The Italian motorcyclist ranked 20th overall on Forbes’ list, but greatly out earned all other riders. Rossi’s next closest competitor was Australian motorcycle racer Casey Stoner, who earned about one-third of Rossi’s income.
Despite Rossi’s impressive earnings, he was not the highest-paid motorsport athlete overall. That title went to Ferrari F1 star Fernando Alonso, who earned approximately $32 million. This was the second year in a row that Alonso finished first amongst all motorsport athletes.
Alonso’s fellow F1 racer Michael Schumacher, earned roughly $30 million, thus sharing the 20th spot with Rossi. The only other motorsport stars to make the list were NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and F1 driver Lewis Hamilton, who ranked 23rd and 24th respectively.
Since turning professional in 1996, Rossi has been one of the most successful motorcycle racers of all time. Rossi won his first World Championship in the 125cc 1997, one year after joining the Grand Prix with Aprilla. Just two years later, Rossi moved up to the 250cc category and won another World Championship. Rossi’s dominance continued, winning World Championships each year from 2001 to 2005 with Honda, in various categories.
Rossi’s streak ended in 2006 when he left Honda to join the Yamaha team. It would be another two years until Rossi regained the world title. Despite winning back-to-back titles with Yamaha in 2008 and 2009, Rossi has not won a World Championship since.
Switch To Ducati
In 2011, Rossi left Yamaha to join Ducati. Rossi’s tenure with Ducati has been disappointing to say the least. In fact, Rossi suffered his first-ever winless season in his debut year with Ducati in 2011. In spite of Rossi’s less than stellar 2011, the seven-time MotoGP champion was able to end his winless streak in January of 2012. Rossi currently ranks 6th in the MotoGP World Championship with 58 points in six starts.
Racing aside, Rossi currently has endorsement deals with Monster Energy, Hennessy, Nike and Hewlett-Packard. Rossi’s deal with HP even resulted in a series of limited edition laptop computers inspired by the athlete.
Forbes Highest Paid Athletes
As for the overall top-earner, that title went to boxer Floyd Mayweather. Aptly nicknamed “Money,” Mayweather has earned roughly $85 million since June 2011. Mayweather, who is currently the WBC Welterweight Champion and WBA (Super) Light Middleweight Champion, accrued the $85 million in just two fights. Mayweather managed to bump golfer Tiger Woods from the top spot, marking the first time Woods has not led Forbes’ list since 2001. Woods earned an estimated $59.4 million, putting him third behind Manny Pacquiao.
Forbes Top 10 Highest Paid Athletes
- Floyd Mayweather (Boxing) $85m
- Manny Pacquiao (Boxing) $62m
- Tiger Woods (Golf) $59.4m
- LeBron James (NBA) $53m
- Roger Federer (Tennis) $52.7m
- Kobe Bryant (NBA) $52.3m
- Phil Mickelson (Golf) $47.8m
- David Beckham (Football) $46m
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Football) $42.5m
- Peyton Manning (NFL) $42.4m