Valentino Rossi concedes Marc Marquez has produced “very close to the perfect season” in 2019 as he moves to the cusp of clinching the MotoGP world championship.

With the title fight effectively over as Marquez holds a 98-point lead over nearest rival Andrea Dovizioso, the Repsol Honda rider only needs to outscore the Ducati rider by two points this weekend in Thailand to seal the title with four rounds to spare.

Having finished either first or second in every race, with the exception of his crash while leading at the Americas MotoGP, Rossi feels Marquez has been able to pull together all his strong points to produce remarkable consistency which has seen him runaway with the world title.

“For me there are different factors. I think this one is the best seasons for him in MotoGP together with 2014,” Rossi said. “From the first season he was very fast but now he is in a moment of his career where he is still very young but also he has a lot of experience so he has reached the top level.

“After that I think the marriage and the feeling with the bike, as in some years the bike is better but some years it is worse, but sometimes he has more problems and sometimes he has less problems.

“It looks like that now he will win a lot races but always arrives in the top two except for one time in Austin that maybe he did a mistake due to a problem with the bike. I think that this is very close to the perfect season [for him].”

After their latest run-in during qualifying at the San Marino MotoGP, which Marquez said he used as motivation to win at Misano last month, the pair appeared alongside each other for the first time publicly since the clash during the pre-event press conference at the Chang International Circuit.

With tensions still brewing under the surface, Rossi says he would congratulate Marquez if he seals the title this weekend after being put on the spot during the press conference.

“Yes, I think, yes,” Rossi said after contemplating his answer.

Marquez can move to within one world title of Rossi’s nine championships assuming he claims the MotoGP world crown this season.



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