Bagnaia emerged from Rossi’s VR46 Academy and became the first Italian rider since his mentor, in 2009, to win the premier class title.

Rossi was present in Valencia, a track where he had previously lost out on the championship amid final day drama, to see Bagnaia hold off Fabio Quartararo to top the MotoGP standings.

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"It was time for an Italian to win the title again,” Rossi told Sky. 

“It's been a long time, this was the best possible way, for us the fact that Pecco succeeded is special.

"Pecco makes you very involved, this is a great merit, it's nice to work with him, give him a hand, all those who work with him do it with great taste."

Asked if he suffered watching Bagnaia fight for glory, Rossi said: "It was certainly a difficult race, but I was calm, because Bagnaia put the bike back in the warm up as he likes, he went very fast, so I saw him more relaxed than in qualifying. Quartararo still had a great race. He rode hard to the end."

Bagnaia will be joined in the 2023 MotoGP rider line-up by Enea Bastianini, who earned the step-up from Gresini as the expense of Jack Miller and Jorge Martin.

Bagnaia’s first season defending the title will be fascinating due to the competition from his own teammate - in 2022, they have valiantly fought wheel-to-wheel.

Marc Marquez, the longtime rival of Rossi’s, spent much of 2022 out injured but has vowed to return with a vengeance in 2023 seeking a seventh premier class title.

One more title for Marquez would draw him level with the legendary Rossi’s tally - even more motivation for the Italian to assist Bagnaia.