News 23 Oct 2015

Frustrated Rossi fires shots at Marquez in Malaysia

Would the Repsol Honda rider prefer Lorenzo to be champion?

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

MotoGP World Championship leader Valentino Rossi has come down on reigning title holder Marc Marquez during Sepang’s pre-event press conference in Malaysia, certain the Spaniard wants countryman Jorge Lorenzo to take this year’s crown.

Movistar Yamaha teammates Rossi and Lorenzo are the lone riders still in the title hunt for 2015, but Italy’s nine-time world champion Rossi is adamant Marquez helped Lorenzo to second at Phillip Island last weekend.

“It is indeed true that Marquez did not play with both of us, he only played with me!” Rossi told the Italian media after the press conference on Thursday. “It is important that he knows that I know! Now let’s see what happens, but I am quite concerned because to have to fight with Lorenzo is one thing, but if you have to beat Marquez as well, everything becomes much more difficult.

“To be honest, the case is that he isn’t playing fair. Especially because Marquez could be very competitive in the last two races. For me it was a big disappointment, I was upset, it was from a few races ago that I knew, but I did not expect him to do something so obvious. I feel disappointment, regret and worry, because surely he will try to do it here and also in Valencia.”

Marquez snatched the race win from Lorenzo in a thrilling final lap of the Pramac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix on Sunday, as a determined Andrea Iannone bumped Rossi off the podium for third. Rossi said Marquez was purposely slowing the pace of all but Lorenzo.

“In the race I noticed it, but I did not understand,” Rossi continued. “Marquez was a step above everyone, but instead of trying to try to battle Lorenzo, he stayed with me to fight with Iannone and others. He knew that I was losing out to the Ducati on the straight, and so every time I tried to pass him, he re-overtook me. But then he slowed to create a gap to Jorge.

“His bad luck was that on Sunday Jorge was not so strong, because otherwise it would have been over already. Instead, he always kept Jorge in check, knowing that he could catch him within three laps and then tried to slow me and Iannone – perhaps trying to put other riders between me and Lorenzo. And in the end, that’s what he did. It is clearly quite worrying, but it doesn’t worry me too much.

“He would prefer Lorenzo to win. He is angry at me for a personal matter. Although he never said it, he thinks that in Argentina I made him crash and then at Assen he is still thinking about the last chicane, in his head he feels he should have won that race. Since then he has been angry and thinking like a child – ‘I do not win, but you do not win either’. At this point, the lesser evil is for him is for Lorenzo to win.”

Rossi said the situation has angered him since Phillip Island, going as far as to question Marquez’s claims of idolising him during the earlier stages of his career. It’s a bizarre turn of events with just two races remaining.

“Let’s see, because if he’s faster yet slows down to get involved in the battles further back, it could become difficult,” Rossi said. “Because he has nothing to lose, but I do. I have to be wary, I’m sorry and I’m quite angry. I did not expect that Marquez was an obstacle for this championship, I thought I was only fighting against Jorge, as it should be.

“Watch out, here we must make a clarification – did he really idolise me? Did he really have my poster at home? I’m not so sure. I’d like to go back in time and see. It will also be a question of character, he is competing with me. I want to win as many world championships as I can. If I win another title, then he knows that he will have to win one more to overtake me. If instead Jorge wins, then they have more or less the same.”

Marquez denied that he is helping Lorenzo to win the title: “Of course not. I did my race and, in fact, if I want to help Lorenzo I [wouldn’t] pass him on the last lap, wouldn’t push the limit and take the risk. But I don’t know… I don’t know why they say this.”