Last weekend, Valentino Rossi was present in the MotoGP caravan paddock, where his young rider academy protégé, Francesco Bagnaia, fought for and won the world championship.
Rossi, who lost the title to Jorge Lorenzo seven years ago, at the initiative of the Italian media, again hit out at Marc Marquez, whom he has repeatedly accused in the past of helping Lorenzo.
Marquez and Rossi were involved in a tense duel at the 2015 Malaysian race, which ended in an incident that resulted in the Italian being penalized with three penalty points by the judges, and as a result, due to the penalty points already collected, he started the season-defining race in Valencia with last place, giving Lorenzo an easier path to victory and the championship title.
Marquez said in a recent interview with Spain's AS about the Sepang race that he and Rossi were equally fast and "battled for a few laps until one of them lost their nerve." Marquez said that Rossi, who was the one whose nerves had given way, would certainly have acted differently now.
Press colleagues from La Gazzetta dello Sport asked Rossi for comment in Valencia, and the Italian said: "Of course he continues to do it, but we all know what happened in 2015. So every time he says it's not true, it looks bad.”
In Valencia, Bagnaia became the first Italian MotoGP world champion, after Rossi in 2009. "Pecco is really strong, he just needs a comfort zone, but when he gets on the bike he is untouchable," he said of his former protégé. "In addition, he is a very polite, friendly, good boy who seems to come from a good family."
Rossi, however, admitted that he was a little disappointed this year with Franco Morbidelli, another of the racers coming from his VR46 academy. "I expected him to be more competitive, but he had a lot of problems."
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