Ezpeleta: Rossi can keep on winning

The Italian has claimed a massive seven World Championship crowns, winning five in a row from 2002 to 2005, as well as the 2008 and 2009 titles.

However, Rossi has endured something of a rough patch since his 2009 success, finishing as low as 7th with Ducati in 2011. After a fateful two seasons with Italian outfit Rossi teamed up with Yamaha once more in 2013, and last season climbed up to second in the standings on his Yamaha YZR-M1.

Having won two of the opening four races of the 2015 campaign, Rossi sits atop the MotoGP standings, and Ezpeleta sees no reason why he can't go all the way and claim an eight World Championship.

"Valentino is a global icon. His presence in MotoGP is very important," Ezpeleta told Omnicorse.

“The evidence we have from the young riders arriving in the premier class see him as a reference point and always show him great respect. 

“What Rossi showed us last year was already more than enough to prove he could still compete for wins. 

“Those who criticised him must now be silent, because Rossi has the desire and motivation to keep riding – he feels mentally ready to win more races and championships."

The 36-year-old Rossi holds a 15-point lead over Andrea Dovizioso heading into this weekend's French GP, with Jorge Lorenzo a further five adrift and reining World Champion Marc Marquez in fourth, 26 points off the pace.