MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi celebrates his 40th birthday today (February 16).

The nine-time world champion has changed the face of motorcycle grand prix since his debut in the 125cc class back in 1996, after which he stepped up to the 250cc category in 1998 and then the premier 500cc class in 2000.

Rossi – who recently spoke about the challenge of racing at 40 - has won a record 89 races in the premier-class for Honda and then Yamaha (plus three podiums with Ducati), with his most recent victory at Assen in 2017.

The Italian has won world titles in 1997 (125cc), 1999 (250cc), 2001 (500cc), 2002 (MotoGP),  2003 (MotoGP), 2004 (MotoGP), 2005 (MotoGP), 2008 ( MotoGP) and 2009 (MotoGP), while finishing as title runner-up in 2000 (500cc), 2006 (MotoGP), 2014 (MotoGP), 2015 (MotoGP) and 2016 (MotoGP). Two of those title defeats came at the very final round.

Watch this video for more of Rossi's career highlights:

Meanwhile, the video below shows Rossi from a fresh-faced teenager in 1996 through to the recent Sepang test as a near 40-year-old. 

The Doctor is signed to remain at Yamaha until at least the end of 2020 but who knows, maybe he'll keep racing until he's 46...

The oldest riders that have won 500cc/MotoGP races:

  1. Fergus Anderson: 44 years and 237 days old (SPA 1953) 
  2. Jack Findlay: 42 years and 85 days old (AUT 1977)
  3. Leslie Graham: 41 years and 21 days old (SPA 1952)