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It takes one to know one...

As the saying goes "it takes one to know one" and here four of Yamaha's greatest world champions give their opinions on fellow legend Valentino Rossi, who wrapped up his fifth consecutive premier-class crown - and second successive title success with Yamaha - at the Malaysian Grand Prix on September 25.

Rossi's latest world championship marked the twelfth time that Yamaha has won motorcycle grand prix racing's biggest prize - with the last Yamaha rider to win the world championship, before Rossi in 2004, being Wayne Rainey.

The Californian clinched his third consecutive title on the YZR500 machine in 1992 and has kept a close eye on Rossi's dominant form this season, which has seen the 26-year-old take ten wins from fourteen races (with three rounds still to go).

"Valentino has done a fabulous job and it is wonderful to see Yamaha winning races consistently again - basically for the first time since I raced," said Rainey, who played a major part in bringing MotoGP back to the United States at Laguna Seca earlier this year.

After dominating the 500cc series with 24 victories between 1988 and 1993 Rainey knows only too well about the psychological strength it takes to be a world champion and says that this, as well as an abundance of talent, is Rossi's main weapon.

"To tell you the truth I think he's just been playing with the other guys, he's got them beaten even before they go out on the track," he explained. "I think there are other riders out there with the ability to compete with him but every time they come out of their shells he just beats them back in again.

"That is probably his strongest asset and if the riders out there now want to beat him they will have to start rethinking their approach a little," Rainey warned.

Rainey had followed the path to grand prix stardom marked out by his fellow American Eddie Lawson, who won the first of his three 500cc titles with Yamaha in 1985. Lawson's total of 26 victories over six-seasons remains a premier-class record for the factory - but that could be beaten by Rossi next season.

It won't be the first time the Italian has emulated one of Lawson's records, having become the only rider, after the American, to win consecutive premier-class titles for different manufacturers last season.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Rossi 7 times world champion, Malaysian MotoGP Race 2005
Rossi, Eddie Lawson, US MotoGP Race 2005
Agostini, Mamola, Carruthers, Kenny Roberts Snr, Rainey, Yamaha 50th Year Celebration US MotoGP, 2005
Marquez, Rossi, Lorenzo, British MotoGP race 2014
Marquez, Rossi, British MotoGP race 2014
Rossi, Marquez, British MotoGP race 2014
Rossi, British MotoGP race 2014
Rossi, British MotoGP race 2014
Rossi, British MotoGP race 2014
Rossi, Pedrosa, Dovizioso British MotoGP race 2014
Rossi, Dovizioso, Pedrosa, British MotoGP race 2014
Rossi, Dovizioso, British MotoGP race 2014
Rossi, Pedrosa, Dovizioso, British MotoGP race 2014
Rossi, Pedrosa, Dovizioso, British MotoGP race 2014
Lorenzo, Marquez, Rossi, Dovizioso, Pedrosa, British MotoGP race 2014
Rossi, British MotoGP race 2014
Rossi, girlfriend British MotoGP race 2014
Rossi, British MotoGP race 2014

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