"It's been a great season, for sure one of the hardest at times,” reflected Rossi. “It's been harder than last year, when we won after two difficult years, but we've had some troubles this year at times and I have had a very hard rival in my team-mate Lorenzo. He has pushed me to new levels and I think it's been a great duel to the end.
“There have been some bad moments, like Portugal when we weren't at 100%, but we have worked well. Lorenzo has done a great job to put this pressure on us so I have to say well done to him.”
"Every year is special but this year was very interesting because we realised from the start of the season that our strongest rival was in our garage,” confirmed Rossi's team manager Davide Brivio. “It hasn't been easy but it's been a fascinating season for everyone.”
Rossi has won six of the 16 races so far this season, compared with four victories for Lorenzo, four for Casey Stoner
- who dominated Sunday's race - and one each for Repsol Honda riders Pedrosa and Dovizioso.
Crucially, Rossi failed to score points only twice (Le Mans and Indianapolis) compared with four times for Lorenzo.
"This season we've had a mono-tyre rule but we have still improved the lap record in many laps and this shows that we've all been on the limit all season,” commenedt Rossi. “This is why we've all made mistakes; this is to be expected when you have four riders fighting together.
"The best moment of the season for me, the best emotion, was the last pass in the last corner at Barcelona,” said Rossi, who snatched home victory from Lorenzo in Catalunya. “This was the most exciting moment of the championship for me, one of the best for many years I think! The worst moment was probably the stupid error and crash in Indianapolis, but this led to the perfect win in Misano in front of all the fans so in the end it was okay!”
Seven MotoGP titles is just one less than the record of Giacomo Agostini, while nine world championships in all classes puts Rossi equal third alongside Mike Hailwood
and Carlo Ubbiali - and behind only Angel Nieto (13) and Agostini (15) .
"I still feel just as motivated as ever,” insisted Rossi. “I still have a great passion to ride better and better, to be on my bike and to win. I enjoy always trying to improve and to work with my team to do this. I am 30 but I still feel great emotion and great satisfaction from success.
“My passion for motorcycles is what keeps me enjoying every race and helps me to keep pushing even though I am the oldest of these first top guys. I have to train harder and work harder to stay focused now, but I still enjoy the challenge as much as ever.
"I think next year will be very, very hard. We're all on the same bikes and I think it will be between me, Lorenzo, Stoner and Pedrosa again. On Tuesday in Valencia we will try the new model and I am looking forward to working on the new M1, but I have the greatest rival in my team so it won't be easy!