Rossi is a natural born racer - it is undeniable, the wins proves that. Yes he set himself apart from many other riders who he raced again because of his flair, charisma and famous celebrations track side BUT he transcended the sport and brought a much needed media attention and sponsors to Motogp.
It has been happening through the years and throutgh all sports as long as there has been competition. The likes of Sheene, Agostini, Mcenroe, Agassi, Sugar Ray leonard, Ali, Tyson, George Best, Maradonna, Usain Bolt, Beckham and even Gazza - without them their relative sports profiles at their times would not have been the same in the media.
When sports stars are able to to this it always adds to the sport as well as the individual. How many riders are on the grid because of Rossi? And in truth how many TV companies and corporate money machines would be rushing towards the bike world because they know Pedrosa (as good a rider as he is) will excite the world and sell a lot of product?
At the end of the day its a business which evolves with cash and if the money drops then it is always to the detriment of the sport concerned. we need more like Rossi, Marco was obviously the next guy who would have had similar potential sadly. As a racing fan it should be about the racing and who comes home first wins....but the reality is all sports need individual characters who can create interest.