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It's debatable whether the Honda's Rossi won the title on in 2001 and 2003 were leauges above the rest. It is true that in 2002 RC211V was streets ahead of the other 4 stroke bikes and especially the 2 strokes. But in 2001 although on factory machinery and domination in terms of race wins, Rossi wasn't even part of the official factory team, while the official factory riders Criville and Ukawa were nowhere on the Honda bike. By 2003 all the bikes on the grid were 4-stroke and Gibernau inherited Kato's factory bike after Kato passed away, so Rossi didn't have it as easy competition wise as he did in 2002.