Rossi’s legendary career yielded seven premier class championships, mainstream appeal which elevated the entire sport, and multiple feuds with fellow riders that spanned different generations.
Marquez was perhaps his last true rivalry – and it continues to this day – but Rossi has chosen not to include the Repsol Honda rider among the top three conflicts that define his career.
“I would say Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner and Max Biaggi,” Rossi said.
“The one with Biaggi was tough from the start because we never liked each other anyway.
“Then I arrived – a bit of a stupid young man. I immediately started pissing him off!
“Now this one who was the 250cc [championship] said ‘what the f***!’
“And the one that comes from the 125cc already pisses him off. So it started badly right away, and it was a rivalry to the end.
“We fought for the last 500cc world championship and that was nice.”
The personal animosity with riders who could also challenge for the top honours followed Rossi.
“The rivalries with Stoner and Lorenzo were different. Because with [Biaggi] I was the young man who had to beat the old man, and instead with Stoner and Lorenzo I was the old man and they had to try to beat me.
“Lorenzo and Stoner were stronger than Biaggi. In the sense that there was is an evolution of the species, an evolution of the riders.
“So the younger I am, the stronger I go. So afterward it’s always more difficult.”
Rossi reminisced on why these rivalries developed on the track over so many years: “[The sport] is dangerous, you tend to have more respect for your opponent and perhaps more than the two who meet in a football match.
“You know that if you play football, almost nothing usually happens, and instead, with the bikes, you still have to keep a bit of a leeway.
“Here, however, it is an individual sport. It’s already different and it’s a contact sport.”
Rossi’s decision to ignore the name of Marquez when asked to list his three top rivalries will divide MotoGP fans.
Arguably, the ferocity that piqued at the end of the 2015 season remains the defining feud of Rossi’s tenure.
It is something that he has spoken of this year, calling Marquez’s actions “a great injustice” and revealing a back-story about a previously unknown conversation they had in Sepang.
READ HERE: Raging Rossi told Marquez: “What the f***, they will remember you only for this”