His pranks and his skits were a part of the persona that captured the imagination of the world during his MotoGP heyday.

From the blow-up doll to the bowling, from dressing as Robin Hood to popping into a port-a-loo, it seems that a fair amount of thought went into his funniest moments.

“The gags, the skits, have always been silly things, but not entirely,” Uccio Salucci explained to Sky.

“They helped Vale to relax, because let's remember that he was very young when he started to win the first World Championships. 

“It was a tough situation, especially in the early years of 500 and MotoGP, when he was already a superstar, but he was only 22-23 years old and bringing the atmosphere of Tavullia back to the circuits too, the serenity of home made him feel good. 

“He always asked me before going to sleep if the skits were prepared, if everyone knew their place, if the commemorative t-shirts had arrived... 

“And I told him to stay calm, to go to sleep because we would be competing in the world championship the next day! 

“He was always very attentive to these details.”

One of Salucci’s many roles over the years was to organise the performance of Rossi’s many pranks.

As the years passed, the manner of the humour would evolve.

"Of course, from the inflatable doll in Mugello to the skittles, it's normal and important because making fun of yourself, playing when you're 30 is different from when you do it at 17,” Salucci says.

“But the concept is always the same, always being a little stupid , to be ironic, to joke.”

How much was instinct, how much was planned?

"I would say 70% versus 30%,” Salucci said. “30% reasoning, not much reasoning. 

“I remember that we always had a meeting all together at the Fan Club to study the gags. 

“The ideas were always my father's or Flavio Frattesi's, we were worried because they were really two idiots and so we decided that it was better to meet up to talk about it, to have them explain what they wanted to do. 

“In practice it was us little ones who had to keep the adults at bay... 

“Think about it. In those meetings they presented us with the gags and they weren't reasoned. There was always one worse than the other. 

“Vale and I laughed like crazy like the one about the skittles: they presented us with 2 or 3 and we chose the least stupid one…”

Rossi’s funniest moments

The skittles were in Spain in 2007. There was no reason given for his mime bowling, and knocking over several humans dressed as pins. We assume it was the visual representation of his rivals…

There was the time that members of his fan club dressed as the Seven Dwarves to represent his seven world titles…

The time he desperately ran into a stewards’ port-a-loo to answer the call of nature…

He brought a sex doll out to mock rival Max Biaggi…