Marc Marquez had no issues with the aggressive racing on show at Phillip Island, which the Repsol Honda rider says is boosting the popularity of the sport compared to Formula One.

Marquez collided with old rival Valentino Rossi during the race at the fast turn 2, with Rossi also feeling the brunt of hard moves by premier class rookie Johann Zarco and Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone.

The reigning world champion, who took a big step towards a fourth MotoGP crown with victory in Australia, agrees there is a limit, but Marquez felt the close-quarters racing at Phillip Island was ‘normal’.

He said: “Of course there is a limit, but today was normal. It was aggressive and some contact, but in the end, this is racing and if we go down with the limit, it becomes likes Formula One racing. In the end, this is why MotoGP is going up.

“I have on my leathers, on my bike [marks], but also I was aggressive, so they were aggressive to me but also I was playing the same cards. This racing was very nice, but of course it was dangerous and I was trying to take care because of the championship – one crash or zero points would be a disaster.”

Explaining his collision with Rossi, Marquez said he thought he had made the pass successfully until he realised there was contact.

“I didn’t see on the camera but on turn 2 I was overtaking a lot of people because I was preparing really well. Honestly, I thought I was in front of Vale but suddenly it feels like my bike was going up alone and in one moment I say, OK I will crash. But OK, I closed the gas and luckily we were on the bike.”

Runner-up Rossi, though, had a different take on the contact and said there was ‘no space’ to make the pass.

“I saw one tyre when have no space, but I don’t know who it is. I was very curious, was it Marquez, Iannone or Zarco because it is very difficult to understand,” said the Italian. “I hear all the tyre on my shoulder and I just go wide and lose time.”

Maverick Vinales, who completed the podium in third on the Movistar Yamaha, was hit by Iannone during the race but the Spanish rider brushed off the incident.

“Well, it’s racing, we try to give our best always and I think it was quite good and nice to see this battle during all the race.”


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