Marc Marquez has responded to Valentino Rossi's accusations that he wants Jorge Lorenzo to win the MotoGP title, the reigning champion saying Rossi should focus purely on beating his Yamaha teammate.
Rossi stunned the MotoGP paddock when he suggested during Thursday's press conference that Marquez deliberately tried to help Lorenzo beat Rossi last weekend at Phillip Island - a charge vehemently denied by the Repsol Honda rider, who passed Lorenzo for the win on the last lap.
Speaking to the Italian media afterwards, Rossi reiterated his claims, and went a stage further by accusing Marquez of trying to scupper his bid for an eighth premier class crown.
“Yesterday, I think he surprised us all a bit," said Marquez when asked about what Rossi had said.
"I can understand that he's thinking about the championship and his 11-point [advantage], but in the end has to concentrate on fighting Lorenzo because it is him he must beat to win the championship.
“He must beat him on the track, and I think this year he is fast enough to do that. I do not want to get involved in this war."
Winning races the target
Marquez added that the episode had not lessened his respect for Rossi, but insisted his target at Sepang would be to ignore the title fight and go for victory.
“I have always had respect for Valentino, and that remains because I think he’s the greatest rider in the history of MotoGP," said Marquez.
"Naturally, what he said upset me, because I tried 100 percent: in Australia I won and I took away five points from Jorge, so I did not understand what he said.
“Here, my goal, as always, is to try to win. If I [only] have the potential to come second, I will take that position.
"In short, I will ride my own race because neither I nor my teammate can win the championship.”