Marquez: Rossi stronger than he was last year

Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez has admitted that Valentino Rossi is much more of a threat this season after he triumphed at the Catalunya Grand Prix on Sunday. 

Rossi was embroiled in an intense battle with Marquez during the race as they overtook each other on numerous occasions. In the end, though, it was the Italian who reigned supreme and secured his 88th MotoGP victory.

While Marquez leapfrogged reigning MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo to sit at the summit of the MotoGP standings with 125 points, the Spaniard admitted that he has to be wary of Rossi as the seven-time MotoGP champion is just 22 points behind him.

“It was a nice race with Valentino,” Marquez told reporters. “He’s in a moment that, since I’m here in MotoGP, it’s his strongest moment.

“Last year he was strong but this year he’s stronger, he has the pace. We will be careful with him, he has a really good level.”

Marquez admitted that he had issues with his bike during the race as a rise in temperature made it very uncomfortable for him. Despite the issues, the 23-year-old expressed his delight at finishing second.

“I was suffering a little with the increase in temperature and was never completely comfortable, so I was unable to try overtaking at the right time,” he said. “I had a couple of scares and started doing the math for the standings in my head, knowing that Jorge Lorenzo was out of the race, and I think that in the end, a podium finish is a very positive result for the championship.”