Upon announcing his retirement from MotoGP at the end of this season, Valentino Rossi picked out the 'most important' of his nine world titles.

Conversely, the 42-year-old Italian admitted to being a 'little sad' at narrowly missing out on a tenth world championship, having finished runner-up on five further occasions.

But with a record 89 premier-class wins to his credit and 199 podiums, Rossi said he has no regrets about the decisions made during his racing career, including an ill-fated switch to Ducati in 2011.

"Regrets about choices? sincerely I don’t have," Rossi said. "For example, racing with Ducati was very difficult for me because we don’t win. But anyway it was a great challenge. An Italian rider, Italian bike. If we were able to win it would have been historic."

The Doctor then turned to the unreachable tenth world title with particular reference to his final round defeats at the hands of Nicky Hayden in 2006 and, perhaps most painfully of all, team-mate Jorge Lorenzo during a bitter end to the 2015 campaign.

"I am a little bit sad not to win the tenth championship, especially because I think I deserve, for my level and my speed," he said. "I lost two times in the last race. So I think I deserve ten.

"But anyway it’s like this. I can’t complain about the results of my career.

"I had a very long career. Fortunately, I won a lot of races with some moments, some victories that are unforgettable. It was a pure joy. After 10 days I’d still be laughing to myself."

While the buzz of victory was what motivated Rossi on a day-to-day basis, he felt three of his titles carried the most significance.

"I want to say there are three championships that are the most important in my career," he explained. "In 2001 when I won the last 500 championship. 2004 when I won the first year with Yamaha. And also 2008, because already in 2008, I was 'old and finished' because after five championships in a row, I'd lost for two years.

"So usually in a normal career it’s over. But changing to Bridgestone tyres I was able to come back to the top and fight with Lorenzo, Stoner and Pedrosa and win another two championships. I think these are the most important moments of my career."

Without a race win since 2017, some suggest Rossi should have called it a day sooner. Others feel he should have continued to race alongside brother Luca Marini for his own VR46 Ducati team in 2022.

"Sincerely, two years ago and maybe also last year I was not ready to stop with MotoGP," Rossi said. "Because I have to understand, I have to try everything. But now I am OK with my decision. I am quiet.

"I’m not happy for sure. But anyway, even if I make another year, next year I’d be not happy in the same moment because I'd want to race for another 20 years! So I think this is the right moment.

"In 2018 I did a great season. I finished third in the championship. I didn’t win a race but I did a lot of points and in the last two races I can also win but did some mistakes. But I was at a high level," he said.

"In 2019 I started well but after something changed. But what sincerely I don’t know.

"Also last year I was quite strong at the beginning of the season. I did one podium. I finished fourth-fifth. But later, at the end of the season, I was more in trouble to stay with the top guys.

"I think anyway the level is very high and the new young riders are always stronger and now all the riders train a lot, they are athletes, they always work hard. So some different things. I don’t know precisely why [I've struggled].

"I really did decide [to retire] during the summer break, because I wanted to continue when I started the championship. I think that, okay maybe I cannot win, but I can be more competitive. But I needed to understand if I was fast enough.

"Unfortunately, during the season our results were less than what we expected. So race by race I started to think [of retiring].

"Anyway, we still have another half of the season where I will try to be stronger and try to give my best, but I think it’s the right choice [to stop now]."

Rossi admitted that racing for his own team during its debut season in the premier-class was a 'fascinating' thought, but ultimately decided against it.

"It was me talking with me, so the salary was good anyway!" he joked of his 'negtiations' with VR46.

"I had an official offer. So sincerely I thought deeply to continue because I'd like to race in my own team, to have my bikes in Tavullia with the reparto corse there.

"We have a great Moto2 and Moto3 team with a lot of people I know for a long time. For example some mechanics that worked with me with the 250 in 1998 and 1999.

"So it's very fascinating to race with my team. But at the end I decide not to do it, for some different reasons for example I'd have to change bikes [from Yamaha to Ducati].

"I think it’s a good project if you have two or three years. But if you think you have just one more season, maybe have more risk than the good things. So because of this I decide to retire."

It is not yet clear who will replace Rossi at the Petronas Yamaha team, which is also set to lose Franco Morbidelli to the factory Yamaha squad next season, or who will ride the available VR46 machine alongside Marini.

Marco Bezzecchi was thought to be destined to step-up to MotoGP with VR46 if Rossi turned down the seat, but is also being linked with Petronas.