Valentino Rossi has labelled the decision to cut MotoGP engine capacity from 990cc to 800cc for 2007 as 'the biggest mistake in the last 15 years'.

In an interview with Dennis Noyes for Spain's Motociclismo publication, the reigning six time MotoGP world champion - a premier-class title winner on a 500cc two-stroke, then 990cc and 800cc four-strokes - stated:

"The 990 motorcycle was 'rough' and wild, but with a great motor and a lot power. The 800 is worse, simply worse, it is the same motorcycle with less power. I was very sad at the beginning, now it has improved, yes... But the power from the 990 made it a lot more fun".

Rossi was then asked how the show can be improved for fans watching trackside and on TV - and has answer made painful reading for those behind the change to 800cc.

"For me the spectacle with the 990 was the same as with the 500. There were big battles and large slides - this is what the public wants, no? The 990 slid a lot on the entry to the turns, but above all on the exit of the corners.

"With the 800... I believe that the 800 are the biggest mistake the world championship has made in the last 15 years. We have lost a great part of the spectacle and part of this is because electronics have advanced so much.

"For me the manufacturers committed a great error when they changed to 800cc. The 990s were better in every way."

The cut in engine capacity was designed to limit top speeds, but has resulted in higher cornering speeds and greater dependency on electronics.

To rub salt into the wound, Dani Pedrosa took his factory Honda to a new all-time Motorcycle Grand Prix top speed of 349.3 km/h in the opening practice session for this year's Italian Grand Prix.

No satellite rider has yet won an 800cc race, while it took until this year's Catalan Grand Prix for an 800cc race to be won with a last lap pass.

The following table also shows how the change to smaller engines has halved the number of different race winners (from 14 to 7).

Note that weather was a factor in the single 800cc wins for Chris Vermeulen (fully wet), Loris Capirossi (wet/dry) and Andrea Dovizioso (damp).

MotoGP race winners: 990cc (2002-2006) Honda: 10 riders - Valentino Rossi (20 wins), Sete Gibernau (8), Marco Melandri (5), Nicky Hayden (3), Max Biaggi (3), Dani Pedrosa (2), Alex Barros (2), Makoto Tamada (2), Toni Elias (1), Tohru Ukawa (1). Yamaha: 2 riders - Valentino Rossi (25), Max Biaggi (2). Ducati: 2 riders - Loris Capirossi (6), Troy Bayliss (1). Suzuki: 0 Kawasaki: 0 Aprilia: 0 Roberts: 0 WCM: 0 Moriwaki: 0

MotoGP race winners: 800cc (2007 onwards) Yamaha: 2 riders - Valentino Rossi (19 wins), Jorge Lorenzo (4). Ducati: 2 riders - Casey Stoner (18), Loris Capirossi (1). Honda: 2 riders - Dani Pedrosa (5), Andrea Dovizioso (1). Suzuki: 1 rider - Chris Vermeulen (1). Kawasaki: 0 Roberts: 0 Ilmor: 0