Austin, April 12: Marc Marquez likened his handshake with long-time rival Valentino Rossi at the Argentina Grand Prix to kissing a girl.
There is a history of bad blood between Repsol Honda star Marquez and Yamaha rider Rossi, dating back to an on-track clash at Sepang in 2015.
Rossi felt Marquez was attempting to assist fellow Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo in his title bid on that occasion and, even though the pair briefly patched things up, the rivalry took a fresh twist in Argentina a year ago.
Italian great Rossi felt Marquez had deliberately made contact with him and caused a crash and refused a handshake during a tense news conference at the Misano GP last September.
However, Rossi embraced the defending world champion following Marquez's fine victory in Argentina and that moment was a topic of discussion ahead of the Grand Prix of the Americas.
"It was the moment for that, if you give a girl a kiss, it's similar, it just fit, we were alone and shook hands," Marquez said.
"I've never had a problem, so having a respectful relationship is no problem."
Rossi added: "It was the right moment. I congratulated him for driving a very fast race.
"I think that's normal."
The Circuit of the Americas has been a happy stomping ground for Marquez, who has won at the track in six straight seasons since the race became part of the calendar in 2013.
But Marquez is taking nothing for granted this weekend.
"We need to understand if it is possible because anything can happen in the motorbike world and this is the nice thing about this sport," he said.
"If something happens we need to understand and take points for the championship."
Andrea Dovizioso, a winner at the season opener in Qatar, is Marquez's nearest challenger after two races and – while the Americas has not always been the Italian's favourite circuit – he is in confident mood.
"I'm really happy about the weekend in Argentina. Our speed was really good, we didn't expect that so I'm happy because it confirms our good pace," he commented.
"It would be nice if it's like this. For sure, Marc has shown in the past he is the king of this track so it will be very difficult for everybody to fight with him.
"But anyway, we have to bring the maximum points so we are focused on that and during the weekend anything can happen."