Valentino Rossi insisted that fellow motorcycle grand prix legend Giacomo Agostini is still the greatest, after becoming the only other rider to reach 100 grand prix victories at Assen on Saturday.
13 years after his very first victory in the 125cc class, Rossi took the hat-trick of pole position, fastest lap and race win with a perfect display in the Dutch TT, fittingly the only circuit that remains from the original 1949 grand prix world championship.
The 30-year-old Italian and his fan-club then joined forces on the slow-down lap to unroll a 25-metre banner which pictured every one of his 100 wins, spanning a grand prix career which began in 1996.
“This is a very emotional moment and for sure I will remember this 100th victory for the rest of my life,” smiled Rossi. “When I reached 70, 100 seemed a long way away but here I am and it has been great, great fun getting here.
“It is down to so many people, like Jeremy [Burgess] and my guys who have been with me for ten years and all of the team who always give 100% and always give me the best bike possible.
“Especially however I have to thank the friends who have been with me my whole life and my father Graziano, who won here in Assen 30 years ago when I was a baby, and my mother Stefania, because they have always supported me.
“It's great to reach this moment here at Assen because it's the 'Cathedral' of motorcycle racing and the most historic track we go to.”
Rossi has reached the 100 mark with 74 victories in the premier 500cc/MotoGP class, plus 14 250cc wins and 12 125cc victories. The reigning six time MotoGP world champion has already won more premier-class races than any other rider in history, but Agostini still holds the record for wins and world titles in all classes.
Ago won 122 races and 15 world titles as a 350 and 500cc rider during the '60s and 70s, including a record eight 500cc titles.