Los Angeles (AFP) – MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez insisted Thursday he harbours no ill-feeling towards Valentino Rossi as the pair prepare to do battle once again at this weekend’s Grand Prix of the Americas in Texas.
Spanish star Marquez will be chasing a sixth straight victory in Austin on Sunday as he returns to a track that has become his personal fiefdom since it was added to the calendar in 2013.
The 25-year-old Repsol Honda racer arrived in the United States this week in the wake of a tempestuous battle with Rossi at the Argentina Grand Prix a fortnight ago, when he was handed a 30-second penalty for clashing with the Italian during a risky overtaking manoeuvre.
A shaken Rossi later took aim at Marquez’s conduct, saying he felt “scared” by the Spaniard’s presence on the grid, accusing the world champion of being a safety risk to other riders.
“I’m scared on the track when I’m with Marquez,” Rossi said following the skirmish at Termas de Rio Hondo. “I was scared today when I saw his name on the board.”
A relaxed-looking Marquez, however, said he had no personal animosity towards the 39-year-old Italian icon.
“I don’t have a problem with Valentino, I’m ready to talk to him. Perhaps we’ll see each other at the safety commission,” he told reporters.
Marquez said he had since watched again his performance in Argentina and acknowledged he had made mistakes that he promised to learn from.
“I like to analyse everything. It was a new situation for me, I did some things well and others badly. At the end of the day we’re riders and people, we’re riding at the limit and can make mistakes,” he said.
“It was difficult and complicated, and many things happened. But I’m a rider and a person who wants to learn from every situation, also from my mistakes. I think that many can learn from that weekend and improve for the future.”
Asked about Rossi’s comments about feeling “scared” by his presence, Marquez added: “”What Rossi said is also to be respected, but I honestly have never been scared of anything when riding. I made a mistake, I was penalised and I went to apologise.”
Marquez heads into the race in fifth place in the drivers standings after two rounds with 20 points.
Britain’s Cal Crutchlow leads the championship with 38 points following his win in Argentina, the first Briton to head the MotoGP standings since Barry Sheene in 1979.
Honda rider Crutchlow, however, said he is not getting carried away by his ascent to the top of the standings.
“We arrive in Austin with more determination after my victory in Argentina but I’m keeping my feet on the ground,” he said.
“There are many strong riders out there and the championship is still long. Winning races in MotoGP is massive but my goal is to be fighting for the podium in every race,” he said.