Suzi Perry believes both Valentino Rossi and Lewis Hamilton have a vital role to play in the promotion and attraction of their respective motorsport disciplines, while stating Rossi is still 'top dog'.

After both global stars were once again in the thick of the action this weekend, with Hamilton recovering from a first turn clash to take third place in Bahrain while Rossi grabbed second place in a crazy race weekend in Argentina, Perry says the different appeals of each brings something to their sports which cannot be replicated.

With the latest controversies surrounding F1 rule-making and Michelin's tyre frights in MotoGP, Perry explains the pair show the sports in positive lights with Hamilton attracting fans from the lucrative American market and believes MotoGP wouldn't be the sport it is today without the Rossi brand.

"I think Lewis is a brilliant ambassador for F1 in the same way Valentino is an exceptional ambassador for MotoGP," Perry said. "For 20 years that man has been MotoGP and it would not be where it is today without Valentino Rossi. They are hugely important and anybody who underestimates the importance of an ambassador to the sport is mad.

"Hamilton wears the F1 shirt globally and whether people like him or not he does it brilliantly and is constantly in the headlines. People in America know Lewis Hamilton but they may not know why they know him. They know him because he is with Pharrell Williams or Beyonce or hanging out with this rapper or producer. He is in all the cool places and is promoting F1 like it has never been able to be in the United States."

The British TV presenter had been the face of the BBC's F1 coverage between 2013-2015 before it withdrew from its broadcasting contract with Bernie Ecclestone due to cutbacks, with Channel 4 picking up the contract without bringing Perry on board.

Perry is set to take up a presenting role for BT Sport's coverage of MotoGP later this year - a position she held with the BBC for 13 years in the late 90s and 00s - and having gained experience in both paddocks she feels if either sport lost its main stars it would lose a large amount of appeal, which had been rumoured to come to fruition when the 37-year-old Italian considered his future.

However, Rossi postponed any ideas of retiring by signing a new two-year deal with the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP squad and Perry thinks when the Doctor eventually decides to hang up his racing leathers he will still be a big presence in the paddock for years to come.

"When he does retire I think he'll still be in the paddock as he has his young team and I think he will want to do a lot in the sport as it is his life," she explained. "He isn't going to go off and run a nightclub or put his feet up. Valentino is a kind of person who will never leave the sport. I think he will be brilliant bringing young riders through and he loves the kick of it.

"He has been saying things like 'I am now old and going grey' for years but we have to look at the fact that he is knocking on the door of retirement and the wrong side of 35 now.

"Also I don't think many people want to see a point where he is not winning races. That is not in the ethos of Rossi so while he is still winning he should still compete and hopefully afterwards he will still be around the paddock to pull a little bit of the hole left on the track."

Asked to compare who is 'top dog' between Hamilton and Rossi, Perry sided with the MotoGP man but says they are completely different personalities.

"Are you looking at talent? They both have in abundance. Are you looking at personality? They are at different ends of a sphere in some ways. I would say Valentino but it's difficult."

 

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