Rossi: Marquez played with us in Phillip Island

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The press conference for this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix was possibly the most enthralling since Assen and once again it was Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez who were at the centre of attention.

After last weekend's incredibly race at Phillip Island Rossi felt that Marquez had "played with his rivals" and that "it's clear that Lorenzo now has a new supporter." On the last lap at Phillip Island Marquez set the fastest lap of the race and it was this fact that Rossi clearly felt aggrevied by. The Italian, who went to the press conference armed with a copy of the race times from Australia, said:

"The race in Phillip Island, was very interesting. First of all it was a great battle with 52 overtaking moves . It was high speed, great level, great bikes, great riders. If we can see another race like this we have to speak with Márquez. Because during the race, was more difficult to understand, but after when I saw the race later, it was very clear that he play with us very much.

" I think his target was not just to win the race, but also help Lorenzo to go far and try to take more points on me. So I think from Phillip Island it is very clear that Jorge have a new supporter that is Marc. So this change a lot, because for sure Marc have the potential to go away alone, and maybe can for sure be another type of race."

Marquez looked aghast at the suggestion that he had been doing anything other than racing for the win.

"I've seen the race many times," replied Marquez. "It was one of the first races that I was fighting there with the top riders, and I was riding really good. But we did a great race, especially incredible last lap. I don't know how was possible to see that I was catching Lorenzo a lot, and after turn 4 is when I believed that I was able to pass him, but really happy for this race, because it was one of the best of the year and we won it.

"I did my race, and in fact if I want to help Lorenzo, I wouldn't pass him on the last lap and I wouldn't push in the limit and I wouldn't take the risk. But I don't know. I don't know why they [Rossi and Iannone] say this. We saw on data with the team and the Honda is pushing a lot the front tyre and this race was the softest compound that we have, but it was the only tire that we had able to race, and I was struggling a lot during the race, during 27 laps in a row.

"It's true that I will try to manage well the tire, but it is also true that in the middle of the race I try to push and I try to open a gap, but was not possible. But you already know my races will never be to push from the beginning until the end in the first position. I did my best, I did the best race for my team, and the most important for me is that we won. Of course sometimes you try to manage the race, but I just will help if it's my teammate, if it's not my teammate I will push for the victory."

Lorenzo quipped that "for sure he didn't help me on the last lap!" while Iannone commented that he also thought Marquez had "played with us."

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Steve English

By Steve English