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• Early days, from karting and minimoto bikes to a first GP win, on a 125 Aprilia in the 1996 Czech GP, then onwards to claim the 125cc world title in 1997.
• Moving up to the 250cc class in 1998 brought four consecutive end-of-season wins riding for Aprilia, followed by a decisive title in 1999 with nine victories.
• Grabbed by Honda to race its super-successful NSR500, Rossi graduated to the ‘class of kings’ for 2000, almost becoming champion that season — but the following year he sealed the last two-stroke 500cc crown with 11 wins.
• MotoGP, for 990cc four-stroke bikes, took over and Rossi immediately reigned supreme aboard his Honda RC211V, securing back-to-back titles in 2002 and 2003, before a surprise departure to uncompetitive Yamaha.
• Rossi rates his first year with Yamaha, 2004, as his best: defying expectation, he won first time out on the YZR-M1 and took a fourth successive title with nine wins.
• In six more seasons with Yamaha, 2005–10, Rossi collected three more championship crowns, his 2008 success especially sweet because it involved a fightback after two leaner years.
• Rossi’s move to Ducati looked to be an appetising all-Italian prospect but his two winless seasons there, 2011 and 2012, were disastrous.
• A return to Yamaha never quite recaptured his greatest glories, but Rossi was championship runner-up three times and came very close to another title in 2015.
Page extent: 336pp
Illustration: 280 photos
Published January 2022
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