As part of BT Sport’s coverage of the event, Rossi – an honorary member of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) – was shown a ‘hall of fame’ featuring the names of every rider he ever raced against in the premier class throughout his career.
Interviewed by Suzi Perry, the Italian motorcycling legend was asked if there were any names in particular that stood out.
“John McGuinness – I’m always in contact with him!” Rossi said.
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Pressed on whether he would like to have raced against the Morecambe man at the Isle of Man TT, where McGuinness is the second most successful rider in history with 23 wins behind Northern Ireland’s Joey Dunlop – a 26-time winner – Rossi added: “I don’t want to race against him at the TT, he’s too fast!”
The 42-year-old MotoGP star also singled out Alex Barros, Colin Edwards, Nicky Hayden, Anthony Gobert, Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo, Marco Simoncelli and Marc Marquez for special mention.
Responding to Rossi’s acknowledgement on Twitter, McGuinness said: “Amazing for him to say them kind words.” #GOAT
Rossi – regarded by many as the greatest motorcycle racer ever – will hang up his leathers at the end of this season after a stellar Grand Prix career, during which he won the 125cc and 250cc world titles, a 500cc world crown and six MotoGP World Championships.
McGuinness, meanwhile, plans to return to the TT in 2022, when he is set to reach the milestone of 100 race starts around the infamous Mountain Course.
The 49-year-old missed the TT in 2017 and 2018 through injury, while his comeback with Norton in 2019 ended in disappointment after McGuinness failed to register a finish in the Superbike and Senior races.
The TT was cancelled in 2020 and again this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the first year the event did not run in successive years since the Second World War.