Rossi has seven, which Marquez will equal if he is victorious against the odds this year, while Lorenzo has three and Stoner two.

But two of Rossi’s closest confidantes on the current grid believe that the ‘Fantastic Four’ of a bygone era had advantageous machinery, and they think today’s generation are a more competitive bunch.

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“Now everything is on another level,” Mooney VR46 rider and Rossi’s half-brother Luca Marini told Sky.

“It is true that if we look at the world championships won by Vale or Lorenzo there are many, but now there are at least 10 riders who can potentially win the world championship.

“Everything is different, including the bikes, and the 2023 grid will probably be the strongest ever. 

“Now the level is incredible from all points of view and the only thing I can say is that I am happy to be part of this MotoGP bike and I hope to improve more and more."

Marini’s teammate Marco Bezzecchi added: "Once there were the ‘Fantastic Four’ but there was also more difference between the official bikes and those of the private teams. 

“Without taking anything away from people like Vale, Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa, Stoner and Marquez, now everything is more level. 

“We are all closer and more competitive also thanks to the fact that the bikes are more or less all similar. We now all have competitive technical packages."

Bezzecchi’s view is evidenced by the fact that MotoGP has seen four different champions, representing four different teams, in the past four years.

Marquez (Honda) in 2019, Joan Mir (Suzuki) in 2020, Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) in 2021 and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) in 2022.

As the new season edges closer ahead of the official Sepang test, debate will intensify over this season’s champion.

Bagnaia and new teammate Enea Bastianini, in theory, will profit from the best bike but Yamaha have made intriguing early strides at the shakedown test in Sepang which will delight Quartararo.

And Marquez, hoping his injury and bike troubles are behind him, is a man on a mission.