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BBC’s Steve Parrish: "Rossi can be title contender again"

Valentino Rossi can challenge for an eighth MotoGP™ premier class title in 2013. That is the opinion of BBC television commentator and former racer Steve Parrish, who was highly impressed by both the Italian and Spanish rookie Marc Márquez as the new campaign kicked off under lights in Qatar on Sunday.

In a column for BBC Sport, Parrish described both surprise and delight at seeing Rossi on form in his first race back with Yamaha Factory Racing.

"We have the sparkle back in MotoGP," Parrish says. "On the one hand we have debutant Marc Marquez and, on the other, old dog Valentino Rossi. Both of them surprised me in a cracking race in Qatar as the season got underway.

"Rossi did a far better job than I expected and I am so pleased for the sport. He can reinvigorate it; he is everyone's hero and you saw why with some real close racing, daring moves and all in his own style.

"He got stuck in and was reeling off laps half a second faster than anybody else - when the tyres were on their way out - which was phenomenal. I was hugely impressed…it was a Rossi masterclass full of the trademarks of the early stages of his career: starting slowly and working his way through, finding ways of passing where nobody else could.

"We also had the pleasure of seeing Marquez's amazing debut (for Repsol Honda Team). The 20-year-old pulled off a pass which was outrageous, when Rossi left about a metre of space and the youngster jammed his Honda down the side and barged his way past. For a rider in his first MotoGP race, it was a sensational display."

Round 2 of the 2013 campaign takes place at the new Circuit of the Americas on the outskirts of Austin, Texas in just two weekends’ time.

MotoGP, 2013

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