His fourth consecutive world crown in motorcycling's elite class confirmed Rossi as one of the greatest riders there has ever been. The brilliant Italian motorcycle ace’s fourth World MotoGP Championship in 2004 was certainly his best.
At the end of the 2003 season, he had left Honda, with whom he had won his first three World Championships, and switched to Yamaha. His arrival provided a dramatic turnaround in Yamaha’s fortunes, and unbelievably they won their first title since 1992.
Rossi was anxious for a new challenge, knowing that if he stayed he risked critics saying that he was just a good rider on a great bike. Rossi did not get on his new bike until January and few thought he could turn Yamaha’s fortunes around so quickly, but in South Africa in April he won his very first race on the Yamaha and altogether won nine Grand Prix during the season. He now has a career record of 100 podium finishes from 139 starts.