Valentino Rossi got a close up view of the future of MotoGP in Sepang today when he chased rookie sensation Marc Marquez for three laps on the final day of testing in Malaysia.
Rossi clung onto the back wheel of Marquez’s Repsol Honda RC213V machine this afternoon and he was raving about the Spaniard’s all-action and aggressive riding style.
Rossi and Marquez lapped closely together for a total of five laps, with the reigning Moto2 world champion chasing his boyhood hero for the first three as the two big stars gave a small glimpse of what fans will hopefully be watching all season in 2013.
Rossi, who finished the final day fourth quickest with a best time 2.01.062, could barely contain his excitement at seeing Marquez at close quarters for the first time.
When asked by MCN to explain what he’d seen, he said: “It was very funny from behind watching him. I enjoy a lot because his riding style is very spectacular, f**k, he rides very hard. I like his riding a lot. I said to him yesterday that this year we can fight and we can enjoy.”
He said he had been able to assess Marquez’s strong points on a day that the former 125GP world champion crashed twice – once in the wet at Turn 12 this morning and once at Turn 9 in the dry.
Rossi told MCN: “He rides very similar to (Casey) Stoner and this is also because the Honda is like this. He is very spectacular and the bike moves and he slides and he always touches his elbow on the tarmac. He is very good and is already so fast. He is particular because he has a strange riding style, maybe something new. Jorge and I ride in a more classic style but Marquez is something different."
Rossi said MotoGP fans will be in for a treat in 2013 watching Marquez’s spectacular riding style, which features gravity-defying lean angles and constant elbow scraping.
The nine-times world champion said: “When he always touches the elbow at every corner it is good, also for the spectators this is funny."
Marquez ended the rain-hit three-day test in third place overall after setting a best time of 2.00.643 today.
He admitted that following Rossi had been a priceless learning experience and he said: “I was quite happy for that although in the beginning it was a little bit strange. He was in front and then I was in front and it was quite good because I saw one rider with a lot of experience and I learned many things in only three laps behind him.
In some corners I don’t have the right line or in some corners I ride more complicated. He did it a bit easier and faster in some parts and my line was more on the limit but slower. I learn many things.”
For nine pages of coverage from the Sepang MotoGP test, see the March 6 issue of Motor Cycle News.