Valentino Rossi says he is confident and looking forward to getting back on track at the Americas MotoGP in Austin this weekend.

Last time out, the Italian was left seething after being bumped wide by a clumsy pass from arch rival Marc Marquez and falling on the grass in the closing stages of the damp Argentina race.

Given their past history, the significance of the incident was obvious.

With Marquez already penalised for contact with Aleix Espargaro at the same corner, the Honda rider received a 30-second penalty - his third penalty of the race - meaning he joined Rossi in finishing outside the points.

After refusing to meet Marquez when he attempted to apologise (Marquez later said he had hit a wet patch and done 'nothing crazy' during the incident) Rossi proclaimed that the Honda rider had 'destroyed our sport' by making contact deliberately and 'hoping you crash'.

Perhaps the most surprising comment was Rossi's admission that he is 'scared' to be on track with Marquez (also calling on Race Direction to do something to stop the Spaniard 'behaving like this').

Yet after last October's thrilling Phillip Island race, where the pair had also made contact during a race of relentless aggression between the leading riders, Rossi had shown no signs of fear:

"In the last few years, the level of aggression during races has raised a lot, especially with the young riders coming from Moto2. It’s a bit more dangerous but that’s the game and if you don’t want it, you should stay at home.”

“All the riders in front were so aggressive, so you need to be even more stupid than them!"

The difference, of course, is that no riders fell during the Phillip Island battle and were all closely matched for speed, while Marquez held a clear advantage in Argentina and didn't need to take risks in order to pass.

A week after the Argentina race Rossi released an Instagram post accompanied by the words: "Difficult race destroyed by a dangerous rider". Another Instragram post, by Manuel Pagliani, appeared to show a photo of the incident on a chair at Rossi's MotoRanch.

 

Oggi bellissimo! Gran giornata di allenamento al ranch! Grazie mille @valeyellow46 per la fantastica ospitalità!

A post shared by Manuel Pagliani (@pagliani96) on

Marquez meanwhile has indicated he won't ride any differently in future

"I will remain the same, I always look to push but the situation in Argentina was a result of a series of circumstances. 

"Unfortuntely I touched Valentino and then after when he went onto the grass he fell over. I understand the error, it was mine and I was penalised for it. 

"What happened took place with Valentino but it could have happened with a team-mate."

Some form of rider meeting to address the fallout from Argentina is expected to be brokered by Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta at this weekend's Austin round, an event Marquez has won from pole position on all five previous occasions.

Rossi has taken two podiums at COTA, including a best-yet second place in last year's race.

It goes without saying that he would surely love to be the one to break Marquez's win streak this weekend…

"Getting back on track after a difficult race, like the one in Argentina, is always important," said the Italian.

"We have to work to improve our M1 and every session will be crucial.

"Austin is a very difficult track for me and for the M1, but also for this reason I need to work at the best level with my team, so we can find a good set-up from the first day of free practice.

"I'm confident. I'm always happy to be in Texas. I like the atmosphere and the track. It hasn't been a good start to the season, but in Austin I hope to do a good race. We will do our best."

The Argentina incident has left Rossi just eighth in the world championship, 22 points behind Cal Crutchlow. Marquez is fifth and 18 points from the top.

"As a team, we are eager to move on from a compromised and disappointing end to the race weekend in Argentina," said team director Massimo Meregalli. "The COTA track is a great place to do so.

"Our team really enjoys spending time in Austin, because the atmosphere is always fantastic.

"The circuit's lay-out isn't the best match for Yamaha, but last year Valentino underlined once more that good results and podium finishes are definitely within our reach here."

Rossi's team-mate Maverick Vinales inherited fifth place from Marquez after the post-race penalty in Argentina and is fourth in the world championship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Loading Comments...