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GP Week : Issue 180
MOTOGP >>> NEWS MOTOGP >>> NEWS After their classic confrontation at the Qatar GP, Valentino Rossi found a humorous way to answer questions about the merits of the man he narrowly beat, Marc Marquez. “He is better than me,” he laughed. “In his first MotoGP race, he set fastest lap. I did the same thing ... but then I crashed,” Rossi told pressmen. “I have to beat him as much as possible in the first half of the season, because maybe in the second half it will be more difficult,” he confirmed. Back home at a press function, it was still sinking in for the first rookie to take a maiden podium since Lorenzo was second at Qatar in 2008. The podium had been a dream, rather than a goal, he said. “I just tried to enjoy it and do my best. It’s incredible to be fighting with your hero. He overtook me and I overtook him...in the end he won that one, but we will learn,” he said. Marquez was fastest by several measures. He topped free practice, setting best times in the second and third sessions to be fastest overall. He also set fastest lap of the race, although four tenths short of Casey Stoner’s 2008 record, set on an 800cc Ducati. Marquez also set the highest top speed, as he did with such regularity in Moto2. In first free practice the Repsol Honda clocked 344.7 km/h on the long straight, 2.4 km/h better than Barbera’s standard set on a Ducati last year. He shaded Pedrosa by only 0.3 of a click, with Bradl (343.5) completing a Honda top-three lock-out. Dovizioso was next, fastest Ducati at 343.5; Rossi placed seventh on the fastest Yamaha at 342.0. By comparison, Espargaro’s best CRT bike (ART) ran 325.3, the slowest (Pesek’s ART) ran 312.2. "MARQUEZ IS BETTER THAN ME" – Rossi Rookie fastest at Qatar 6 GPWEEK.com // 6 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: