Valentino Rossi says he had no issue with title rival Marc Marquez's aggression as the pair battled it out for a place on the rostrum during the British MotoGP round at Silverstone.
After trading blows in the final part of the race, Marquez finally made a slight break from Rossi to slot into third place and began to challenge Cal Crutchlow for the runner-up spot.
The Repsol Honda rider was equally aggressive as he went head to head with Crutchlow, clipping the British star at the end of the Hangar Straight before running off the track and losing ground, eventually finishing fourth as Rossi secured the final place on the podium.
The battle between Rossi and Marquez rekindled memories of their infamous clash at Sepang last season, which ended with Marquez sliding out after the pair touched. However, nine-time world champion Rossi said their Silverstone tussle had been a 'fair' confrontation.
Asked if he was more worried when he had Andrea Iannone or Marquez for company during a race, Ross said: “More when I have Marquez, because I know that he has special treatment with me! But also with Iannone, it is not easy. Apart from the joke, it was a great battle with Iannone and also with Marquez – it is always a strong battle, but fair.”
Marquez ran off the track as he locked horns with Rossi but failed to gain an advantage, re-joining the race in a similar position behind the Yamaha rider. Rossi, though, feels it is unfair that any rider running off the track escapes unpunished.
“When you go out of the track it means that you make a mistake and at the end it is not fair that you don't lose nothing. But the rule is like this and if you go out of the track at a place that have the tarmac and you don't gain any advantage, you can continue. It is also like this for all the other riders,” he said.
“But Marquez is always very aggressive for sure, but compared to the Sepang battle this one was a lot different because both riders have the same target – try to arrive in front and try to go faster. This was the difference and I enjoy a lot.”
The Italian rider has reduced Marquez's advantage by three points and is now 50 points behind at the top of the table, but the 37-year-old was more satisfied with his performance in the race after a challenging weekend at Silverstone.
“I'm very happy, not for the three points because it's still 50 points, but to arrive on the podium after a race like this and a battle like this was very fun, very exciting, because we already know that on the dry we suffer a bit. It was a difficult weekend and I know that I have to use the advantage to start in the front row and to fight from the first corner to the last.
“It was a great race, a great fight with [Cal] Crutchlow, with Marquez especially and with Iannone. When I was fifth with Marquez in front and Iannone in front, I say, 'difficult' – also because I had [Dani] Pedrosa behind. I tried to not give up, to ride at the limit; I was also lucky at the end but this is an important podium for me and for the team because I arrive on the podium after a difficult weekend.
“The only shame is that Maverick [Vinales] doesn't wait for us because we need to have this fight for the victory! But it was very fun.”
Rossi - who celebrated his 250th MotoGP start at Silverstone - is now looking forward to a 'special' race weekend at Misano, where the Yamaha has traditionally been strong in the past.
“It's a good way to arrive because next week in Misano will be the most special and important weekend of the season because it is in my home an for sure we will have a lot of pressure, but also we will have a great atmosphere, a lot of people and a lot of fun around,” said Rossi, who raced with the old chassis and swingarm instead of the upgrades he tested at Brno, with Yamaha deciding the time lost in practice to evaluate the parts left too much to chance in a race situation.
“I like the track and usually our bike is good but you never know until you go on the track with the different tyres but we need to give the maximum and also a little bit more.”