With 89 wins, currently stretching from the 2000 British Grand Prix to the 2017 Dutch TT, Valentino Rossi tops the all-time list for most 500cc/MotoGP race wins.

While awaiting official confirmation of The Doctor's 2021 Petronas Yamaha deal - which could coincide with his upcoming home Misano round - we take a look back at five of Rossi's best victories to date:

2001 Australian Grand Prix – Phillip Island

On the cusp of his first premier class world title, Valentino Rossi went to Phillip Island needing to finish in either first or second place to seal the crown with two rounds to spare.

Max Biaggi was his sole remaining challenger and despite starting from pole position he dropped down the pecking order early on. But with the Phillip Island circuit characteristics producing a typically closely contested race, a five-rider fight broke out including Rossi and Biaggi.

Biaggi and Rossi continued to trade overtakes for the lead in the closing laps, The Doctor knowing second place would still be enough to seal the title.

But on the final lap, Rossi wiped the nose of Biaggi into the MG corner and held on for victory by just 0.013s (to date Rossi’s smallest ever winning margin) to take the world championship in style.

2004 South Africa Grand Prix – Welkom

Certainly one of Valentino Rossi's most emotional wins, as he made his Yamaha debut after three successive premier class world titles with Honda.

Starting from pole position, Rossi was pursued by bitter rivals Max Biaggi and Sete Gibernau, with the Italian keeping closest to the reigning world champion.

But to the surprise of most of the MotoGP paddock, Rossi was instantly on the pace with the Yamaha following a short winter of adaptation to send out an ominous warning of what was to come.

Biaggi, to his credit, fought Rossi for the entire race with the pair trading overtakes as he looked to spoil his rivals’ dream debut and retain Honda honour. But Rossi held on to become the first rider in history to win consecutive MotoGP races on different manufacturers.

2008 United States Grand Prix – Laguna Seca

Having seen off most of his rivals across the early stage of his premier class career, a new generation were challenging his domination in the shape of Nicky Hayden (2006 world champion) and Casey Stoner (2007 world champion).

Looking to regain his crown, Rossi faced off against Stoner in an all-time classic at the iconic Laguna Seca circuit.

On the opening lap Rossi gave chase to Stoner, pulling off his first overtake under braking into the Corkscrew, which hinted at what was to come.

On Lap 4 Rossi repeated the move down the Corkscrew in arguably one the most famous overtakes in the sport’s history as the Italian ran over the kerb and off the track coming down the steep banking to keep the lead against Stoner.

With Stoner demonstrating superior pace in practice, Rossi took every opportunity to keep in front of the Australian rider to trigger an almighty back and forth between the pair… Until the Ducati star braked too late for Turn 11.

That allowed Rossi to ease to victory and deliver a key psychological blow against his rival in the fight for the 2008 title.

2009 Catalan Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

Another famous one-on-one battle, this time against Rossi's own team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.

The Yamaha pair produced untouchable race pace to shake off Casey Stoner on the Ducati, with Rossi leading his team-mate until Lorenzo started to make his move in the final five laps.

That erupted an all-out attack from both riders, which duly produced some of the greatest racing witnessed in the modern MotoGP era.

The last lap alone makes for two minutes of pure drama. Lorenzo using the slipstream on the main straight, Rossi around the outside at Turn 3 before switching back to the inside at Turn 4 only to have Lorenzo bite back on the exit.

With no way through at Turn 10, Rossi had just one chance left, at the final corner, where he tucked inside Lorenzo and snatched victory by just 0.095s.

2015 Dutch TT – Assen

In the dramatic and often controversial 2015 campaign, one of Rossi’s greatest hours came at Assen in a showdown against reigning champion Marc Marquez.

Somewhat uncharacteristically for Rossi over the latter stage of his career, the Italian started from pole position and held on the lead in the sprint to the first corner.

With Marquez in hot pursuit, the action erupted with seven laps to go when the Repsol Honda rider dived into the lead. Rossi used the opportunity to assess the Spaniard’s strong and weak points around Assen, then bolted back to the front with three laps to go.

Rossi set his personal best lap on the penultimate lap, but Marquez was far from beaten. Clawing back time over the final lap, Marquez launched himself up the inside at the final chicane looking to push Rossi aside.

Looking vulnerable on the outside, the Italian held his nerve as the pair bashed fairings, Rossi straight-lining the gravel trap to take the chequered flag ahead of the Repsol Honda rider.

Marquez wasn't happy, but Race Direction believed Rossi would have made the corner as normal without contact from the Spaniard.

 

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