Bagnaia added his name to the same list as Rossi and Marquez in 2022, becoming MotoGP world champion for the first time in his career.

After overturning the biggest deficit in MotoGP history - Bagnaia was 91 points down on Fabio Quartararo with ten races to go - the Ducati rider will now aim to become the first back-to-back champion since Marquez achieved that feat in 2018-19. 

Bagnaia also brought the world title back to Ducati for just the second time in the Italian manufacturer’s history, after Casey Stoner won the championship in 2007.

Stoner was another rider mentioned by Bagnaia when the world champion was discussing the riders able to make the ‘difference’ in MotoGP, however, Rossi and Marquez, both of whom have had on-track battles with Bagnaia, were heavily praised by the Ducati rider. 

Speaking to La Stampa, Bagnaia said: "Rossi and Marquez are the two riders who made the difference in our sport. 

"Along with Stoner, they dictated a new way of facing the Grand Prix. Valentino was metamorphic, able to adapt during the different eras of MotoGP and the undisputed leader. 

"Marc pushed the limit and Stoner invented a new riding style. I’m proud to say that I’m Valentino’s friend. I feel lucky and privileged. I try to take advantage of his experience and grow.

"I’ve always been fascinated by the way he races. He managed to win even when he was slower, annoying his opponents. Marc, on the other hand, is a racing animal. He doesn’t care if he risks falling at every turn, in order to win."  

Marquez is expected to be one of Bagnaia’s main title challengers in 2023, although much of that will rest on the shoulders of Honda and how competitive they can be.

Ducati will start the season as favourites following a dominant campaign in 2022 which saw them win all three championships.