Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez have never been the best of friends, with friction between the pair reaching new heights last season. However, the Italian has said that their relationship is on the mend.
With the race for the 2015 World Championship on a knife edge heading to the penultimate race in Malaysia as Rossi battled Jorge Lorenzo for the title, Rossi accused Marquez of trying to aid his compatriot’s title bid ahead. Verbal warfare then spilled onto the track at Sepang, with Rossi found guilty of kicking Marquez off his bike.
It was a costly move for Rossi, with the Italian forced to start from the back of the grid at the season finale in Valencia, and the Movistar Yamaha could not prevent Lorenzo from taking the title by five points.
The pair appeared the bury the hatchet in Catalunya in June following the death of much-loved Moto2 racer Luis Salom in Friday’s practice.
Following the race in Spain the pair were all smiles as they shook hands, with Rossi later explaining the Salom’s death had put things into perspective.
“I think that after what happened, all the rest becomes not very important. Very very small,” he said.
“I think it’s the right thing to do.”
Speaking ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, which marks a return to action after the summer break, Rossi revealed that he and Marquez are continuing to mend fences.
“Our relationship has improved since Montmelo,” Rossi told reporters.
— Valentino Rossi (@ValeYellow46) August 10, 2016
With the second half of the season getting underway this weekend, Rossi acknowledged that he will have to put up a strong showing in the first couple of races as he currently trails championship leader Marquez by 59 points.
“An important stretch of the season is beginning, as we have four races in five weeks so a lot of focus is needed,” the 37-year-old, who sits in third place on the standings, said. “This is an interesting track as the the asphalt is level and there is a lot of grip, allowing you to go full throttle in several areas.
“It will be tough to close the 59 point gap in nine races, but we have to give our all, be strong and always reach the podium.”