After finishing second in today's Malaysian Grand Prix and clinching his fifth successive MotoGP title, his second for Yamaha, Gauloises Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi commented on his title victory:
"I am very happy with this championship. I know I gave more than 100% today, and we had a lot of problems this weekend. This morning I wasn't sure if I could fight for the podium! After the start I stayed calm as some riders made some mistakes, and I was able wait for things to clear. Step-by-step and metre-by-metre I moved through the pack and I used every second of the race. I got to third behind Nicky and I thought I could fight because the bike was feeling okay and I knew that Nicky was having some of the same problems as me. Eventually I passed him and caught up to Loris and at some places I was faster, some slower. I passed him but when he passed me back I knew that he had been playing with me, like a cat with a mouse, because in the last seven laps he changed gear and I couldn't stay with him, he was incredible!
"This morning in the warm-up we made some changes and found a better feeling. Michelin worked really hard to give us a competitive package for the race and this showed, because it was a great improvement to yesterday.
"So I am World Champion for the seventh time and it's a great feeling. It's been great to come back from the bad result at Motegi last week and do so well; we made a good race today. This title is not just down to me but to everybody involved; Jeremy Burgess, all my mechanics, all the Yamaha engineers and all the people on the management side, including Davide Brivio.
"Today I put the number 7 on my t-shirt because this is the number of my championships but also because it was the number of Barry Sheene, who was a great hero of mine and a truly great racer. The celebration with my fan club, dressed as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was just a bit of fun to celebrate the seven titles, and also because I always liked the story as a child! Now I go back to Italy for a couple of days but we can also make a little party here -- I have my mother and some of my best friends from Italy to help me celebrate!
"This year Yamaha has worked so hard again to give me the bike I need. At the start of the year we had some problems with the M1, but then we found the right way forward and the bike started to fly. The M1 has been great fun to race this year. Last year was a surprise to win but this time everyone was ready for me and I was the target. It has been a great achievement to beat all my rivals this year, because they have been very strong.
"I think for me the race at Mugello was the biggest emotion of the season, because it was in front of my home fans. Every year there is a different story to the championship, and this year has been a hard battle. The emotion to win a seventh world championship is difficult to explain. The first is like a dream, the second unbelievable; there are just no words to describe the seventh! The feeling is different to when I won the 125cc and 250cc titles, but just as good!
"Racing with Yamaha gives me a great taste and a great motivation to win; these last two championships have been two of the best."
VALENTINO ROSSI STATISTICS
Winning the MotoGP World Championship with four rounds to spare has been the icing on the cake for Valentino Rossi after a season of unprecedented success that has seen him rewrite history at almost every round. As well as clocking up his 150th Grand Prix in all classes and taking his total win ratio to over 50%, Rossi has also reached a host of other milestones - particularly in the premier class, where he is now the third most decorated rider in history behind Giacomo Agostino and Mick Doohan.
Here is a full list of Rossi's historic MotoGP achievements in 2005:
* Rossi's victory at Jerez for the first round of the season made him the only rider other than Agostini to win the opening race of the year on five successive occasions.
* At the Dutch TT Rossi became the first Yamaha rider ever to win five successive premier-class races.
* At Brno Rossi became the first rider to score more than eight premier-class wins in a season on five occasions.
* Rossi's victory at Brno was the 77th of his career, overtaking Mike Hailwood as the third most successful Grand Prix racer of all time behind Giacomo Agostini and Angel Nieto.
* The Brno win was also Rossi's ninth of the year, equalling the record he set in 2004 for most victories in a single season by a Yamaha rider.
* Rossi is the first rider ever to take nine wins in a second on five separate occasions.
* His second place at Sepang was the 113th podium of his career, lifting him above Hailwood to fourth place in the list of all-time podium finishes in all classes.
* Rossi's pole position at Donington Park was his 30th in the premier-class, one more than Kevin Schwantz and second only to Mick Doohan's total of 58.
* Rossi has gone on to win 25 of the 30 premier-class races he has started from pole, a ratio equal to 83.3%.
* Rossi has joined Mick Doohan and Giacomo Agostini as one of only three riders to have taken five or more premier-class World Championships.
* With 51 victories from 93 races, Rossi's win ratio is the fourth best of all time behind John Surtees, Giacomo Agostini and Mike Hailwood.
* With 77 podiums from the same number of starts, Rossi's career podium ratio of 82.7% is the best in MotoGP and 500cc history.
Other facts about Rossi's career
* In 1997 Rossi became the second youngest ever 125cc World Champion after scoring 321 points and eleven wins.
* Two years later, he became the youngest ever 250cc World Champion with nine wins.
* In 2001 Rossi joined Phil Read as one of only two riders ever to win the 125cc, 250cc and 500cc titles.
* Rossi's debut victory for Yamaha at the opening race of 2004 in South Africa made him the first rider in history to take back-to-back wins for different manufacturers.
* After winning the MotoGP World Championship three times for Honda, Rossi took his fourth premier-class title with Yamaha in 2004 and became the only rider other than Eddie Lawson to win consecutive premier-class titles for different manufacturers