Quartararo enters 2023 seeking his second MotoGP championship, whereas fellow Yamaha rider and all-time icon Rossi retired with seven (Giacomo Agostini holds the record with eight, won in the 60s and 70s).

Rossi retired aged 42, after 12 years without a championship, with his place in folklore immortalised. But Quartararo, who is still just 23 and part of an exciting, young era alongside new champion Francesco Bagnaia, hopes to create a different legacy.

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“I hope I won't be riding in 20 years,” he told Motorsport-Magazin.com. “But of course it's true that I'm still relatively young. 

“In the end, I want to be a legend of this sport. I want people to remember me as the guy who never gave up and was always at the forefront of MotoGP. 

“I want to win a lot of races and hopefully more world championship titles. That's the maximum you can achieve. That's what it's all about.”

Rossi has the most wins in MotoGP history (89) as well as a host of other records - most entries (374) and most races with the same manufacturer (275). These types of lofty numbers are not, however, what Quartararo (11 wins) is motivated to chase.

“Not records, but victories,” he says. “I don't have to break records. I want to be at the top, fight for the best places and win as often as possible. Whether I set new records is not important to me.”

Quartararo enters 2023 as a former champion seeking to claim back his throne. The dynamic is different for him - no longer seeking a maiden title, or making a first defence. Is this the most difficult challenge yet?

“Honestly? For me, it's exactly the opposite,” he says. “But that's also because of my attitude. 

“For me, there will be no title defence this year. Instead, I see it this way: When the new season starts, last year's world championship no longer counts. That is the past. I have zero titles again. 

“That's why I'm not defending anything, but attacking to win a new world title. At the same time, however, the overall victory last year naturally lifted the pressure off me. I have achieved my big goal. 

“Becoming MotoGP world champion is every motorcycle racer's dream, but not many of us are granted it. I did that and now my goal is to win the title again. So I always think from one step to the next. It is important not to look too far ahead.”

Yamaha Racing managing director Lin Jarvis has Quartararo contracted for the next two seasons and is desperate to cling onto him for even longer. Jarvis is also the man who tempted Rossi to Yamaha, beginning the legendary Italian’s heyday.

Jarvis exclusively told Crash.net about comparing Quartararo to the MotoGP icons of yesteryear: “Some people just have it and some don't. For me, Casey Stoner was one of those, for instance. 

“And if you ask most riders, even if you asked Valentino - another rider with extraordinary capabilities - back in the day, sometimes everyone was like ‘Casey Stoner, he's just out there!’

“That's sometimes bravado, skill, lightning reaction times, understanding of the bike… There are many, many, many different elements and [Quartararo] definitely has those.

“Like many of the top riders, being able to compartmentalise things as well. When it gets to that really important moment, just being able to block out all the rest and get on with the job.”