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Page last updated at 20:07 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Steve Parrish's MotoGP column

Steve Parrish
By Steve Parrish
BBC motorbikes commentator

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi won his ninth world title in Malaysia

What superlatives are there left to say about Valentino Rossi? He just never ceases to amaze me.

He is now a nine-time world champion and in my opinion is the greatest of all time.

I don't see anyone achieving anything like what he has done in the future. We haven't seen it in the past and I don't think we will ever see it again.

He is a phenomenon and an enigma and his likeable personality has helped make him the best of all time.

His charisma has an awful lot to do with his success and popularity. I bet if you did a straw poll of MotoGP fans for next season I'm sure you would find the majority of them would want him to win again.

Saturday 7 November
Qualifying: 1200-1500, BBC Red Button/online
Sunday 8 November
125cc & 250cc race: 0950-1205, BBC Red Button/online; Race live: 1230-1400, BBC Two/online; MotoGP Extra, 1400-1430, BBC Red Button/online

Fans want the field to challenge Rossi for the title, but ultimately they still want him to win.

That is a rare thing in sport, if one person or team starts to dominate, fans normally begin to tire of them and want them to fail. That just isn't the case with Rossi.

But as he basks in the glow of another championship title, I would say that he has never been more concerned about next season than he is now.

The chasing pack behind him are getting ever closer.

Jorge Lorenzo is getting stronger and more consistent, Casey Stoner is back to his world championship winning best and Dani Pedrosa can never be overlooked.

If I had to call next season I would say that Stoner will be the 2010 world champion.

The saddest element of this weekend is that James Toseland bows out of MotoGP.

I spent some time with him last weekend in the Isle of Man and he is quite disappointed that he is being seen in some quarters as another British Superbikes rider that failed in MotoGP.

His first year was exceptionally good and he looked like he was going to be the one Brit who broke the duck of coming from Superbikes and succeeding in MotoGP.

It would have been easy for Toseland to stay as a big fish in a little pond but he decided not to

Steve Parrish

But it just didn't happen.

It just hasn't worked out for him this season and he can't turn the clock back.

He certainly doesn't view it as a wasted opportunity though.

He decided to go toe to toe with the best in the world, which a lot of people shirk from, so he should be applauded. It would have been easy for him to stay as a big fish in a little pond but he decided not to.

The winter of 2008/09 knocked him and hopefully a return to Superbikes will rebuild his confidence.

I don't think he will make it back to MotoGP so we have to look to kids like Bradley Smith for future British representation in the premier class of motorbikes.

Valencia is a great place to finish off the season, there will be good crowds, nice weather and it is an interesting and physically demanding track.

It's one of the longest races of year and the riders have to negotiate 420 corners in approximately 40-45 minutes. It's a tough way to bow out for everyone.

See you again in March.


Valencia prediction:

1) Casey Stoner 2) Valentino Rossi 3) Jorge Lorenzo

2010 Championship prediction:

1) Casey Stoner 2) Valentino Rossi 3) Jorge Lorenzo

Steve Parrish was talking to BBC Sport's Paul Birch

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see also
Cool Rossi crowned world champion
25 Oct 09 |  MotoGP
Report - Rossi seals title win in Sepang
25 Oct 09 |  Motorsport
Matt Roberts' column
26 Oct 09 |  MotoGP
What new rules mean for MotoGP
12 Apr 09 |  Motorsport
MotoGP calendar 2011
15 Mar 11 |  MotoGP
MotoGP on the BBC
15 Mar 11 |  MotoGP
MotoGP standings
31 Oct 10 |  MotoGP
Contact the motorbikes TV team
06 Mar 07 |  MotoGP

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