Valentino Rossi, who will be making his 300th start in his home race at Mugello next weekend, has joked that he wishes he had met Marc Marquez earlier in his career, having witnessed the fantastic form of the current MotoGP™ World Champion.
The seven-time premier class title winner again finished second to the Spaniard in the fifth round of the World Championship at Le Mans in France last Sunday.
Over the course of the opening five races in 2014, 35-year-old Rossi has finished second to Marquez on three occasions. At Le Mans, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP man headed the pack until Marquez was allowed through due to a mistake at the Bleu Esses. Rossi would go on to discuss Marquez in the post-race press conference.
“I am in a situation in which, for sure I want to win, but it is not a big problem for me.” Rossi began. “I come from a situation last year (and especially two and three years ago) when my results were a lot worse, so I am so happy about my work.
“You know…Marquez is clearly in another league. I understood that already last year and I said, ‘[Explicit]!’ It’s difficult, I should have met him and fought with him when I was 22! Anyway, it is good motivation because the level is so high and if you want to beat him you have to give it more than 100 percent.”
Rossi also provided some words on teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who – as the last World Champion before Marquez – now sits 80 points behind the Repsol Honda Team rider just over a quarter of the way through the 2014 campaign.
“I understand Jorge,” Rossi continued. “Personally, I am in a different situation. For me, to be on the podium behind Marc is acceptable. I know I can try to fight with him, but I am more relaxed. For Jorge, it is different because he wants to win. Last year, Jorge did some impressive races: the best of his career, even though he didn’t win the championship.
“This year, Marc has more experience and the Honda is technically a little bit better than the Yamaha, so Jorge it is a bit frustrated because he knows it is quite impossible and he doesn’t want to be second – he is not happy. So maybe for this reason he has some problems.”
The championship now rolls on towards Mugello in Italy, a home venue for Rossi at which he will be celebrating his 300th career race start since debuting in the 125 class in 1996. Since then, he has won a total of nine world titles.
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