Would Valentino Rossi soften his stance against MotoGP rival Marc Marquez, a week and a half after their clash in Argentina?

That was the main question ahead of the Italian's meeting with the MotoGP media in Austin on Thursday, during a private session (pictured) arranged following Dorna's decision not to invite either rider to the official press conference.

And the answer?

"I watched the race again and think exactly what I said in Argentina. So I confirm all my words."

Rossi branded Marquez as having 'destroyed our sport' through deliberate, 'dirty' contact with other riders and 'hoping they crash' during a withering post-race sermon in Argentina.

The nine-time world champion even said he was 'scared' to race with Marquez and urged Race Direction to 'change his behaviour' to avoid MotoGP becoming a dangerous 'destruction derby'.

"Because [making contact] one time can happen, but f**k five times [with various riders] in one weekend? For me it is on purpose," Rossi had added.

The Italian's fury was ignited when the Honda rider barged into him during a clumsy pass for sixth in the closing stages of the Termas de Rio Hondo race. Rossi was forced wide and fell on the wet grass.

It was the opposite outcome of the shocking clash at Sepang 2015, which torched the last threads of friendship between the sport's two biggest stars. An uneasy truce had been in place since they shook hands at Barcelona in 2016.

Marquez, having already made similar contact with Aleix Espargaro at the same turn earlier in the Argentina race, was hit with a 30-second penalty for the Rossi clash. It was Marquez's third punishment of the grand prix after an initial ride-through for his actions after stalling on the grid.

While Rossi's Sunday comments in Argentina were heat-of-the-moment, The Doctor had plenty of time to plan his words for Thursday's press encounter.

The full transcript (of the English part, Rossi then spoke to Italian media) can be seen below:

The situation between you and Marc, will the rivalry continue for this race and into the future?

Valentino Rossi:

"Sincerely, I don't know. The only thing is look at the future and think about this weekend. I think that is very important to go back on the track and ride the motorcycle, try to make the maximum, work with the team.

"So I'm very happy to be here also because this track is very difficult, so you have a lot of work because it's very long, a lot of corners, and we have to think about that. make our work and try the maximum."

You had some very tough words against Marc in Argentina. Did you change your mind? Do you think you went too far or do you feel the same?

Valentino Rossi:

"Sincerely, I watched the race [again] and I think exactly what I said after the race in Argentina. So I confirm all my words. But it's better to look forward."

What happened in Argentina happened in Formula 1 between Prost and Senna. After a clash they sat and spoke to each other in their motorhome for almost an hour. Is it time to do the same with Marc?

Valentino Rossi:

"I don't know. I think maybe it's not the time yet. Maybe in the future!"

How do you explain that there was a penalty for Marc, but not Zarco with Pedrosa?

Valentino Rossi:

"I think that the incident between me and Marquez is worse, but I think also what Zarco did to Pedrosa is not fair. But it's like this."

Rossi's non-score in Argentina means he is currently just eighth in the world championship, 22 points behind Cal Crutchlow. Marquez is fifth and 18 points from the top.

Marquez had earlier avoided any mention of Rossi when meeting the media for his pre-event briefing.







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