The Italian MotoGP legend endured the darkest two years of his career with the renowned Italian team, failing to add to his seven world championships. 

Ducati had not crowned a MotoGP champion in 15 years until Bagnaia completed the biggest comeback in history by usurping Fabio Quartararo’s 91-point advantage.

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Bagnaia is the first Ducati rider since Casey Stoner in 2007 and the first Italian since Rossi in 2009 to win the premier class title.

Bagnaia came through Rossi’s VR46 Academy so his success represents the best moment that Rossi has enjoyed with Ducati.

He told La Gazzetto dello Sport that Ducati now want him to help prepare their 2023 prototype: "A lot of people on the team would like me to try it. 

“But to ride a MotoGP bike you need a goal, to try it like this... 

“Well, I don't have all this desire, to be honest.

"I miss it, but it's also right to make a clean break." 

Ducati’s revival from 15 years without a MotoGP champion has been masterminded by Gigi Dall’Igna, their general manager.

How might Rossi’s time in red have been different if Dall’Igna was by his side?

“But in 2015 Ducati was already winning", Rossi looked back. "That was a close one, I'm sorry for that."

Bagnaia has become the greatest success story of Rossi’s VR46 Academy and now the legend wants others to follow in his footsteps.

Luca Marini, his half-brother, and Marco Bezzecchi will remain in the 2023 MotoGP rider line-up in the Mooney VR46 Team under the Ducati umbrella. But neither will profit from the 2023 spec, and will instead ride 2022 machinery next year.

Could VR46 move to Yamaha, where Rossi enjoyed all his personal glory, in 2024?

"Something that makes a lot of sense," he teased.

 "We make the team to get to the front, we want the bikes that are stronger."