Valentino Rossi says he felt “betrayed” by MotoGP rival Marc Marquez last season, after being “tricked” into believing the Spaniard was his fan prior to their feud.
Relations between Rossi and Marquez broke down last year when the former accused the latter of riding to assist Jorge Lorenzo’s title ambitions in the closing part of the season – tensions coming to a head when they infamously clashed dicing for position at Sepang, causing Marquez to crash.
And the Italian said the feud was made all the more painful by the previously good relationship he shared with Marquez, who was once a self-avowed fan of the seven-time premier class champion.
“More than anything, I allowed myself to be tricked by Marquez,” Rossi said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport when asked if he felt he had overestimated his rival’s abilities.
“He really betrayed me. He said he was a fan but those were all lies.
“I almost believed him and I was ready to have a rivalry with him, giving 100 percent on the track.
“At Assen I realised he was only my friend when he beats me.”
Asked about the changes made to the penalty points system for 2016 in the wake of his famous clash with Marquez, Rossi said: “I haven’t really understood what they changed.
“However, people have said that they never penalise me but that clearly isn’t the case.
“It would have been better to have been penalised in Malaysia than to have my chances ended in Valencia.”
“Fairly convinced” about staying
Rossi also gave the firmest hint yet that he intends to remain in MotoGP beyond the end of his existing contract with Yamaha, which expires at the end of the year.
“I’ll take part in five or six races [before deciding whether to stay] but I’m fairly convinced I’ll spend the next few years with Yamaha,” he said.
“Then that will be enough as I am getting white hair. However at 39, I could take part in a few car races like the Le Mans 24 Hours or the Dakar Rally.”