SportMotoGPRossi points out his favorite rival in MotoGP

Rossi points out his favorite rival in MotoGP

The nine-time world champion ended his career at last month’s Valencia Grand Prix, which brought the curtain down on his 26th season in MotoGP.

Rossi’s career was marked by many intense rivalries with the likes of Max Biaggi, Sete Gibernau, Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Márquez.

Asked by Motorsport.com what his favorite rivalry was, Rossi replied: “Rivalry in all sports at the highest level, maybe especially in MotoGP, is something I don’t like very much. But it’s fantastic to give your maximum, push your limits and find something inside that you don’t know you have.

“I had great, great rivalries in my career, and I enjoyed myself a lot, especially in the first half because I won more. In the second half I lost more, but I still enjoyed myself.” 

“Biaggi [was my favourite], because we were both Italian. Also, in Italy there was a huge following.”

“But also with Stoner, Lorenzo, in the end with Márquez, and with all the guys in recent years I’ve always enjoyed it.”

“It’s something that you later remember in a positive way as something special.”

(Before reading on, click on this link or scroll through the photos to see 20 world champions that Valentino Rossi ‘retired’)

Alex Criville

Alex Crivillé

1 / 20
The 500cc champion in 1999 only matched Rossi in 2000 and 2001, before announcing his retirement.

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Kenny Roberts Jr.

Kenny Roberts Jr.

2 / 20
Roberts deprived Rossi of winning the title on his 500cc debut in 2000. The American remained active until mid-2007.

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Max Biaggi

Max Biaggi

3 / 20
Four-time 250cc champion, he was Rossi’s main rival in the beginning. He left MotoGP in 2005 to go to WorldSBK, where he added two more titles before leaving the competition in 2012.

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Casey Stoner

Casey Stoner

4 / 20
The MotoGP champion in 2007 and 2011 retired in 2012 at just 27 years old.

Photo by: Bob Heathcote

Jorge Lorenzo

Jorge Lorenzo

5 / 20
The three-time MotoGP champion was able to beat Rossi with the same bike. In 2019 he retired after passing through Honda at the age of 32.

Photo by: Yamaha Motor Racing

Daniel Pedrosa

Dani Pedrosa

6 / 20
Pedrosa came to MotoGP in 2006 as the great hope to beat Rossi, but he retired in 2018 without being able to do so. He left with two 250cc titles and one 125cc title.

Photo by: Camel Media Service

Charles Czech

Carlos Checa

7 / 20
Checa achieved glory outside of MotoGP. In 2013 he retired from WorldSBK after being crowned two years earlier.

Photo by: Gauloises Fortuna Racing

Loris Capirossi

Loris Capirossi

8 / 20
With two titles in 125cc and one in 250cc, in MotoGP he did not go beyond third position. He left it in 2011 at the age of 38.

Photo by: Ducati Corse

Oliver Jack

Oliver Jacque

9 / 20
The 250cc champion in 2000 failed to succeed in the premier class and retired in 2007.

Photo by: Gauloises Fortuna Racing

Troy Bayliss

Troy Bayliss

10 / 20
Like Rossi, Bayliss has extended his career in different championships to beyond 40 years. He was WorldSBK champion in 2001 before going to MotoGP. After leaving the category, he added another two titles in the series-derived motorcycle world championship in 2006 and 2008, when he left the first level.

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Colin Edwards

Colin Edwards

11 / 20
The two-time WorldSBK champion retired in 2014 at the age of 40.

Photo by: Yamaha Motor Racing

ben spies

Ben Spies

12 / 20
Injuries led the 2009 WorldSBK champion to retirement in 2013 at just 27 years old.

Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP

Marco Melandri

Marco Melandri

13 / 20
Melandri hung up his helmet in 2019 at the age of 37 and the 250cc title in 2002 under his belt.

Photo by: Gresini Racing

Stefan Bradl

Stefan Bradl

14 / 20
Although not officially retired, the 2011 Moto2 champion retrained as a Honda tester since 2018 after a brief stint in WorldSBK and has participated in some races as a wild card.

Photo by: Red Bull GmbH and GEPA pictures GmbH

James Toseland

James Toseland

15 / 20
The two-time WorldSBK champion retired in 2011 after having coincided with Rossi in MotoGP in 2008 and 2009.

Photo by: XPB Images

Gabor Talmacsi

Gabor Talmacsi

16 / 20
The Hungarian, 125cc champion in 2007, came to race in MotoGP in 2009.

Photo by: XPB Images

Tetsuya Harada

Tetsuya Harada

17 / 20
The Japanese coincided with Rossi in 2000 and 2002, when he retired at the age of 32 and the 250cc World Championship in 1993 under his belt.

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Mike diMeglio

Mike di Meglio

18 / 20
The 125cc champion in 2008 raced in MotoGP in 2014 and 2015. He is still active in other categories such as MotoE.

Photo by: Avintia Racing

Neil Hodgson

Neil Hodgson

19 / 20
The 2003 WorldSBK champion only met Rossi in MotoGP a year later.

Photo by: Fabrice Crosnier

Hiroshi Aoyama

Hiroshi Aoyama

20 / 20
The last 250cc champion in 2009 raced in MotoGP until 2017.

Photo by: Red Bull GmbH and GEPA pictures GmbH

During the Algarve GP, 2007 world champion Casey Stoner expressed his appreciation for what he learned racing Rossi and for the “incredible battles” they had.

Commenting on Stoner’s stage as a rider, Rossi noted that the Australian was “one of the wildest riders” in MotoGP history.

“I raced alongside Casey for his entire MotoGP career, because it wasn’t very long as he came in 2006 and left in 2012,” he said.

“It’s not a long time, but he showed his incredible natural talent and already from the first year with the Honda he was always very, very fast.”

“So I’m very happy to have fought with him because he was one of the fastest and wildest MotoGP riders in history.

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