Valentino Rossi's accomplishments in Grand Prix and MotoGP racing are, in many cases, without peer. Rossi may certainly be the best GP rider of this century or perhaps of all time, but one detail that bears mentioning is that he still hasn't matched American Freddie Spencer's record.
Spencer--the youngest ever 500cc world champion when he won that title in 1983 (which was Honda's first-ever 500 title, mind you) turns 44 years old today. Born Frederick Burdette Spencer Jr. in 1961, Spencer was racing dirt track at age four and was a multi-class champion in WERA roadracing as a teen; his association with tuner Erv Kanemoto propelled him to three world championships.
It's interesting that here we are, twenty years after the fact, and no one has repeated Freddie Spencer's 1985 feat. Spencer, riding works Hondas, won both the 250 and 500 world championships in one, single glorious season. None of the greats that followed him even attempted it, not Doohan, Schwantz, Gardner, Rainey or Rossi. Many GP riders of the 1990s era said replicating Spencer's feat was "impossible".
Twenty years later it appears that is true.