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Valentino Rossi joked with the media at the #SpanishGP press conference after being asked if his relationship with Marquez had deteriorated.
The world’s media gathered in Jerez at the official press conference for the Gran Premio bwin de España, with most of the emphasis placed on whether or not Rossi and Marquez still enjoyed a good relationship after their clash in Argentina.
Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez, Andrea Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo, Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith were all on hand to give their thoughts on the weekend’s action, but the main talking point was actually what happened on the penultimate lap at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.
It was “The Doctor” who responded first when asked how his relationship with the reigning World Champion had been affected, jokingly saying: “I will have to give Marc less kisses from now on!”
Rossi and Marquez confirmed they still get on well and that the incident in Argentina had not affected this one bit. The Movistar Yamaha rider also mentioned how much he enjoyed coming back to Europe: “Jerez is always a special weekend, I think it is one of the best and I like it a lot. We return to Europe and I am very happy as it takes less flying time, and the atmosphere in Jerez is very special”
Repsol Honda’s Marquez was asked whether he would prefer to be first or second heading into the infamous turn 13 (Lorenzo’s corner) if he was to be caught up in a battle with Rossi on the last lap of the race, to which he replied: “If I am behind Rossi on the last lap, I will be lucky, as I am not 100%.”
Marquez, referring to his fractured finger that was the result of a friend running over his hand on Saturday, admitted that he had no idea how his injury would affect him during the race: “Tomorrow I will try and we will see, it will be painful as the operation was only on Saturday evening, but okay we will see, maybe we will suffer more than in other races, but here in Jerez in front of the fans I have extra motivation and that can help me.”
Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso surprised a few people by announcing that Ducati do not have any major new upgrades to try out in Jerez. The Italian, who is second in the Championship standings and just six points behind Rossi, said that he was looking forward to some dry track time: “We didn’t have a lot of time to really work on the bike at the last 3 races as the conditions were tricky. This race with the weather looking good, we have more time to work on the setup to see if we can improve a little bit of traction and braking stability.”
Rossi’s Movistar Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo addressed the helmet and tyre issues that have affected him in each race this season, stating that while they may have been minor, they have played their part in his poor start to the season: “When you are at a very high level even small problems don’t stop you fighting for the race, but when you have problems and are slower you cannot fight for the race win. When I don’t have problems, I will be able to fight for the race win.”
CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, who secured his first podium of the season in Argentina, identified where he felt he and his team needed to improve: “We can improve our package and our speed again as we need to improve and I need to ride a bit better especially in certain stages of the race.” The British rider went on to say that the middle part of the race is a particular problem for him at the moment, and that is where he hopes to make progress this weekend.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Bradley Smith admitted his issue so far this season has been his poor qualifying, but he is hoping that practice makes perfect around a track he enjoys: “I was speaking to someone on the flight, and trying to work out how many laps I have done around here as it has been quite a few. I’ve had a good run of results here which includes my first GP win (2009 125cc).”
The biggest laugh during the press conference came when a journalist asked the riders for their take on the Rossi-Marquez clash from Argentina, with Lorenzo stating, “I don’t know what happened, I was too far back,” while Cal Crutchlow’s response was “I don’t care…it gave me a podium!”
The MotoGP™ on-track action in Jerez kicks off on Friday at 9:55 local time with Free Practice 1.
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