Marquez & Rossi Drama Heads into Circuit of the AmericasSomething unique occurred during the typical MotoGP pre-race press briefing Thursday at Circuit of the Americas in the Lone Star State.Due to the intense drama between Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi during last weekend’s Argentina Grand Prix at Termas de Rio Hondo, they were interviewed alone and apart from the typical group six riders.
In Argentina, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez was penalized three times for a faulty start, and aggressive riding. The four-time MotoGP Champion first lost a position for bumping into Aprilia Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro, and then for colliding with Rossi, causing the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pilot to crash into the dirt.Both riders would finish the race, Rossi in 19th and Marquez in 18th after the Spaniard was penalized 30 seconds.“The race weekend in Argentina and especially Sunday was very tricky for the conditions, and a lot of things happened during the race weekend,” Marc Marquez said during his one-on-one meeting with the press.“But I’m a rider and a person who likes to improve and especially learn from everything. And I think from that race day everybody can learn a lot.“In Argentina I did and said everything I believed in at the time, and I continue believing that. I‘m a rider and person who likes to improve and learn from, in this case, mistakes. A lot of things happened. I made mistakes, I was penalized and I went to apologize.“We’re riders, we’re people and we all make mistakes. It’s a competition at the limit, and the track conditions were at the limit. So you learn from the bad and the good, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”Marquez says he’s putting the Argentina drama behind, and focusing on the racing at Circuit of the Americas, where Marquez has won the past five races there from pole.“I’m concentrating on myself, being at 100% on track – everything else, I try to keep some distance from,” Marquez says.As for Rossi, the nine-time World Champion is also putting Argentina behind him, though he says it’s not yet time to fully discuss his issues with Marquez. He was blunt after Argentina, saying he didn’t feel safe racing with Marquez.“I watched the race back, I think exactly what I said after the race in Argentina,” Valentino Rossi said. “But it’s better to look forward. Maybe it’s not yet time to talk, but maybe in the future.“The only thing to do now is look to the future and think about this weekend. I think it’s important to get back on track, ride the motorcycle, to try to get the maximum and work with the team. I’m very happy to be here. Also because this track is very difficult, so you have a lot of work, it’s very long with a lot of corners – so we have to think about that. Do our work, and try the maximum.”Rossi was also asked about if the Marquez rivalry was anything like the one between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, both McLaren Formula 1 pilots who fought to the end during the 1988 season.“The difference between this and Senna and Prost is that they were fighting for a title, and one or the other would win.”In the conference room, Argentina MotoGP winner Cal Crutchlow (LCR Castrol Honda) was joined by Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Argentina GP pole sitter Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing).Crutchlow highlighted the talks, the three-time premier-class winner saying once again “don’t doubt me.”“I don’t know whether I’ve silenced any critics or not but it’s true, don’t doubt me,” said Cal Crutchlow, who is the first British rider to lead the points race since Barry Sheene back in 1979. “I think we entered the season to do a good job, the team has worked really well…sure on Sunday or next race maybe I’ll finish tenth and we won’t be leading but I think at the moment we deserve it because we’ve done a good job.“You’re not going to win every race and if you thought you would, it would be boring. I think here it’s easier to lead the Championship than in the middle of the year.“It’s nice for us three guys sat here to know we’re competitive with the factory teams. In Qatar we were competitive too. It’s great for the Championship.”The action begins Friday at Circuit of the Americas. For a preview of round 3, visit: 2018 Austin MotoGP: Can Marquez Go 6 for 6?