Marquez: I'm still surprised by Rossi comments

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24 hours after Valentino Rossi's outburst at the pre-even press conference at Sepang Marc Marquez was still somewhat stunned by the attack from his rival. Rossi felt that Marquez had been holding back in Australia and that he had been favouring Jorge Lorenzo by holding back in the race and not showing his true pace.

Speaking in Sepang Marquez said that even a day later he was still surprised by the outburst:

" I’m still surprised like I think everybody else was," said the reigning world champion. "Of course I respect Valentino and I will respect always him but I understand also his situation. He is fighting for the title, he is really close to getting his tenth title, but he knows Jorge is really strong. So for that reason I prefer to be out of this battle.

"Of course yesterday this was pushed to me but in the end he needs to beat Jorge on the racetrack. I don’t want to be inside [this battle] but in the end I’m doing my race. I think what I did in Phillip Island was the best, which was win the race and take 25 points for my team, sponsors and factory. I will try to do the same here and Valencia. Try to win. Of course if I cannot win I’ll try to finish second, or third. Like I say before Phillip Island race, I will try to do my 100%."

The last two years have seen the dynamic between Rossi and Marquez change considerably. Gone are their chummy days where both were keen to stress their friendship. It's been replaced by a coolness that has defined so many of Rossi's rivalries over the years. The mutual respect has been replaced by an apathy towards each other. Both have been keen to stress how much they respect each other on the track but their respect for each as men has clearly taken a hit. Yesterday Rossi said that it was "unsporting" of Marquez to have been riding within himself in Australia and such a claim is always likely to charge the tension between riders.

For his part when asked if he had lost respect for Rossi Marquez denied any such claims and said that he could understand where the Italian was coming from with his comments but that he will need to win the championship on the track rather than in the media.

"I don’t know, maybe it was a new strategy no? I was really surprised because at Phillip Island in the end I won the race. I did an incredible last lap, taking a risk to overtake Lorenzo in the downhill after a hot lap that always is difficult. You know, in the end I respect him and maybe it is a new strategy, we don’t know.

"Only Valentino knows but like I say of course I understand and respect, but he needs to beat Jorge on the track and I think Valentino is strong enough for beat Jorge on the track. He is leading the championship by 11 points. He knows if he finishes just behind or in front of him he will win the championship, so he doesn’t need to be worried."

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Steve English

By Steve English