'Young MotoGP riders are pussies' - that was the controversial claim made recently by seven time champion Valentino Rossi.
Rossi made the comment in response to criticism by the likes of Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo about the on-track conduct of Rossi and hard-riding fellow Italian Marco Simoncelli, respectively.
Unsurprisingly, the comment arouse during the pre-event press conference at Le Mans on Thursday, beginning with class-veteran Colin Edwards being asked if the claim was true:
“[Yes] they are just a bunch of pussies!" replied Edwards. "No, I retract that statement...
“There's obviously been some statements in the press about this and that, but I'm still working on my pace to be up there with those guys to talk sh*t about them!”
24-year-old reigning world champion and 2011 points leader Lorenzo, one of the main targets of Rossi's words, was later asked for his response.
After being told that the phrase, in polite terms, meant some young MotoGP riders were behaving like 'kids', Lorenzo - in a presumed dig at Rossi - replied:
“I don't know. I guess it must be a little shame to be beaten by 'kids'. Every race...”
At that point 37-year-old Edwards couldn't resist jumping in: “Yes, it's a shame! And I didn't even call them pussies!”
Meanwhile, Rossi brushed off his latest clash with Stoner, who is said to have obstructed the Ducati rider during the post-race Estoril test:
“In reality it was nothing special... nothing happened... No problem,” said the 32-year-old, whose feud with Stoner was reignited when he brought the Australian down in a race-accident during round two at Jerez.