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Rossi renews Marquez rivalry in San Marino

‘Hometown hero’ – Yamaha’s Italian rider Valentino Rossi will chase his first win of the season at San Marino MotoGP. © AFP / Jure Makovec

MILAN, Italy, Sep 6 – Italian Valentino Rossi chases his first win of the season and renews his rivalry with world champion Marc Marquez at home in the San Marino MotoGP as the motorcycling world championship series revs up again this weekend after the British Grand Prix washout.

Torrential rain forced officials to cancel the Silverstone race two weeks ago given the high risk on the rain-flooded surface.

And Yamaha ace Rossi wants to make the most of his home advantage to post his first win of the season, at Misano, in Italy, a venue where he has won three times – most recently in 2014.

The nine-time MotoGP winner sits second in the world championship standings behind Honda’s Marquez.

“It’s always special when you arrive at your home GP,” said 39-year-old Rossi.

“There will be many friends and fans at the circuit and we’ll give it our all to make it a nice weekend. We were in Misano for a test a few weeks ago and we will have to pick up our work again from where we left off.

“We’ll give our maximum to start the weekend in the best way possible and do a good race, fighting for the podium. I hope the weather will be good, so everybody can enjoy this weekend.”

In recent years, Spaniards have dominated at the track on Italy’s Adriatic coast, not far from the tiny republic from which the race takes its name. The 25-year-old Marquez has won twice in the past three years for Honda.

Marquez has suffered a two-race blip, but so dominant is the Spanish world champion that he still increased his lead in the MotoGP standings without winning.

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The Honda star had taken five of the previous nine races before starting August by finishing third in the Czech Republic and second in Austria. Because Rossi failed to make either podium, Marquez added 13 points to his lead.

Spanish rider Marc Marquez is leading the MotoGP world championship. © AFP / OLI SCARFF

With seven races to go, Marquez is 59 points ahead of Rossi. Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso, the two Ducati riders who took the other podium places in the last two races, are 12 and 13 points further back.

Marquez, meanwhile, said he would like to patch things up with Rossi smoothing the rivalry between the two that goes back to 2015 and was fuelled by a collision in Argentina this year.

“I would like to make peace with him, I have no problem with Valentino,” said six-time world champion Marquez.

“In Argentina, everything was quieter. I made a mistake and with it came bad luck with Rossi. I also tried to apologise.”

The Spaniard said he disliked being whistled by Rossi’s fans.

“I don’t like the whistles … we’re on track at 300kph, we risk our life every time we get on the bike.

“I have always asked my fans to respect all the riders because after one race there is another one, life goes on.”

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