MotoGP stars Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo were united in their praise for Esteve Rabat, who won the Moto2 title on Sunday after nine seasons in grand prix racing.

The Spaniard didn't even finish in the title top ten during his opening four years in the 125cc class. But Rabat's renowned hard work paid off as he climbed from tenth, to seventh, then third and now first in the Moto2 series.

Reigning double MotoGP champion Marquez is one of Rabat's closest friends in the paddock.

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"It was a really great feeling to see him at the top because I have very tight relationship with him," said Marquez, who had been among those to congratulate Rabat in parc ferme. "We trained many, many times together. And I know what he did and what he has sacrificed to be competitive here.

"Everybody knows the progression of 'Tito' in the world championship. Almost every year he's improved a little bit and he never gave up. It is so nice to see him at the top, to see his face, because he is the rider that works the hardest. He just lives for the bike. I'm really happy for him"

Rossi, who recently invited Rabat and Marquez to join a group of riders on dirt bikes at his moto ranch in Tavullia, said: "I like Tito a lot, because first of all he is f**king crazy for the motorcycle! The first time he stopped at the ranch and got off the bike, his face - it was like his mouth was outside the helmet he was smiling so much and his eyes were completely crazy!

"I like him also because when he arrived [in grand prix] he was not a phenomenon. He struggled, but he worked and he never gave up to improve his skills on the bike. I think he worked harder than anybody to win this championship, so he deserves it and I want to give my congratulations to him."

Fellow multiple MotoGP champion Lorenzo added: "Tito is the demonstration that probably someone who was not maybe the most [naturally] talented rider in the paddock, but worked on his talent. So I think his talent has been growing and growing.

"He is a demonstration for all the young riders that with the will, motivation and very, very hard work you can achieve everything. For me many young riders should take Tito as an example for their careers."

Rabat will remain with the Marc VDS team to defend his crown in 2015.