MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi has been competing against riders across generations and over many seasons but the new season will put him up against a very special rival.
Luca Marini, who is his maternal half-brother, is set to race for Avintia Esponsorama Ducati team in his maiden season in MotoGP and the 23-year-old is looking forward to going up against his big brother.
"Being in the same moment on the track with Vale will be special. We spend a lot of time together and I used to watch him race from the paddock when I was a child. Now sharing this moment with him is very special," said Marini.
The youngster is all set to participate in his first MotoGP race this weekend at Qatar after having an impressive outing in the Moto 2 Championship last season.
The Sky VR46 rider is confident that he can give all the other riders a good fight alongside the seven-time MotoGP champion.
"I would like to be as fast as him and stay close to him and follow him and understand all the secrets he has with his big experience also. I will also try to beat him also. I know it is not easy but I think I can push him to perform better," he added.
Marini has made it clear that he will be targeting to become the rookie of the year and his primary focus is on that.
"I would try to achieve good results from the beginning but it is difficult because MotoGP is very competitive. I want to be the strongest rookie even though all of them will have the same goal. I will try to beat them," he said.
When asked about Rossi's chances this season, Marini felt that the 42-year-old Petronas Yamaha rider will be gunning for podium finishes this year.
"Vale can fight for the podium places this season. And I hope I can fight with him in some races," he said.
One of the notable absentees in the Qatar GP will be Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez but reigning world champion Joan Mir will be looking to start his title defence at the Losail International Circuit.
Marini feels it is possible to see a new champion this season like how Suzuki's Mir bagged the crown last season.
"Why not? MotoGP is very competitive" he concluded.
The fans can watch MotoGP™ 2021 LIVE on Eurosport and Eurosport HD and stream it on discovery+ from 27th March,2021.