Valentino Rossi has picked out his own top three wins from across his career and believes having a strong rivalry helped him raise his own performance level to greater heights.

The nine-time world champion has amassed 115 wins across his Grand Prix career but feels three victories stand out above the rest to make them his best performances.

Rossi has picked out his win on debut for Yamaha at the 2004 MotoGP opener in Welkom, making the Italian the first rider in history to win consecutive Grand Prix premier class races for two different manufacturers, alongside his battle against Casey Stoner at the 2008 United States GP at Laguna Seca and his last-corner victory against Jorge Lorenzo at the 2009 Catalunya GP in Barcelona.

The Italian says he ranks these three wins as his equal best as he discussed the greatest races of his career.

“In my personal ranking of the victories of my career, I have three victories that are, Welkom in 2004 the first victory I had with Yamaha, Laguna Seca 2008 the battle with Stoner and Barcelona 2009, the battle until the last corner with Jorge Lorenzo. They are my best three,” Rossi told BT Sport.

In all three of those victories Rossi was embroiled in a fierce rivalry which he feels gave him the extra motivation to raise his performance level, while also having the same effect on his competitors.

“I had great, great battles with Max Biaggi, Sete Gibernau and later with Jorge Lorenzo,” he said. “And when you have a rivalry like this it is the fuel to increase the performance of everybody, it raises the level.

“This is because the battle and the fight starts and after it can become something a little bit personal, so this means that you can give the maximum and give more to fight a rival and to arrive in front as it raises the level.”