In August, Rossi finished the first leg of his career in Brno, Czech Republic on the AGV Aprillia RS125R. Then, 1997 was another year of dominance for ‘The Doctor’ when he had 11 wins and 13 podium even with 4 poles in 15 races, winning the first major title in his career with a score of 321.
He switched to the 250cc format in 1998, just around the time the Aprillia RS250 reached full power. The racing team consisting of three drivers, Rossi, Loris Capirossi and Tetsuya Harada, had a great season when they ranked 3 leading positions with a score above 200.
Rossi had to give up 5 times, so even though he had 5 wins (the most among racers), he only got the runner-up position, 23 points worse than teammate Loris Capirossi. But he also didn’t have to wait long when he won the 250cc format in 1999 with 9 wins and 12 podiums after 16 races.
MotoGP racing, admiring Rossi: Legendary racing 40,075km around the Earth
Rossi in his early years at the highest form with Repsol Honda
The next two years he raced in the 500cc format which was also the highest format with the same scenario with the previous two modes. He switched to racing for Honda with the NSR500, the first season he was only runner-up when he lost to American driver Kenny Roberts, Jr.