Valentino Rossi has ruled out the possibility of developing a rivalry with Marc Marquez similar to the fierce on-track opposition that developed between ex-Formula 1 greats Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna.
Rossi and Marquez famously clashed last season during the Malaysian Grand Prix, which left the Repsol Honda rider sprawled on the ground and saw Rossi hit with a last place grid start for the final race at Valencia, effectively ending his chances of winning the world crowd.
A war of words erupted between the pair in the aftermath but as they came face to face in the same room for the first time on Wednesday at the official press conference for this weekend's Qatar MotoGP, Rossi said 'nothing particularly special' would happen this season as a result of their bitter fall-out.
The 37-year-old Italian said: First of all I'm happy to hear my name close to Agostini/Hailwood and Senna/Prost – it is something extra for motorsport, but I think nothing particularly special will happen and on track I think everything will be the same.
“Everybody will try to give the maximum to try to be in front without something more 'special'.”
Reflecting on the massive interest in the final MotoGP World Championship round at Valencia last year, Rossi admitted that the outcome could have been different, but added that he had moved on and was focused on launching another title assault in 2016.
“I think the last races of last year added something different compared to normal. Personally speaking, the finish can be different and better and I prefer to win than lose,” he said.
“But it is like this and it is past and the good thing is that we are here and we will try to have another good fight in this season.”
Marquez brushed off the question on whether the pair's rivalry would intensify and said he would use the experience he gained in 2015 from the first race to the last.
“We saw in the past in MotoGP, you always try to beat your opponent, but in the end I have 20 opponents and I must fight against each one for try to win the championship and that is my target,” he said.
“This year will be an interesting season because everything looks closer. We will try to fight for the championship and use the experience from last year from the beginning of the season to the end and fight again for the title until Valencia.”
Dani Pedrosa – who finished a close third behind Jorge Lorenzo and Marquez in the Valencia MotoGP last year when the Honda duo came in for criticism, with suggestions they held back from challenging their fellow countryman for the race victory – said the drama had helped raise the profile of the sport around the world.
“I think it was a big moment for MotoGP, maybe not like everybody thinks, but there was a lot of fans and the track was super crowded,” he said.
“They had to put up extra grandstands and sell extra tickets, this was a positive thing and the result affects part of the show but overall we can say that MotoGP is trying to grow and that is what we look for, to put on a good show.”