Valentino Rossi repeated his own 2005 defence in concluding that Marc Marquez's last corner Spanish MotoGP pass on Jorge Lorenzo was simply 'hard racing' on the last lap of a grand prix.
World champion Lorenzo wrongly believed countryman Marquez was further behind, leaving the door open for the rookie to launch his RCV up the inside under braking.
In a near replica of Rossi's controversial race-winning pass on Sete Gibernau at the same turn in 2005, the pair then made contact as their lines crossed at the apex.
A livid Lorenzo was bumped wide, while Marquez snatched second place behind team-mate Dani Pedrosa.
“In my opinion it was a hard attack for sure, a hard overtake from Marc - because they touched,” Rossi, Lorenzo's Yamaha team-mate, told the official MotoGP website. “But you know it is the last lap, the last corner and for sure the guy behind will try something. Jorge kept the door open and Marc went inside. It is something that can happen in racing.”
Unsurprisingly, those words echoed Rossi's own defence in the aftermath of the Gibernau incident: “I passed him at the last corner. For sure it was a hard move and for sure Sete is angry - but this is racing."Marquez later cited Rossi's 2005 overtake
, and other passes at the newly renamed Lorenzo Corner, as justification for his own move.
With Rossi unpunished in 2005 - when Gibernau was forced off-track and through the gravel trap - it was always unlikely that Race Direction would impose a punishment on Marquez.
Yamaha, having defended Rossi's move, were likewise in a difficult position in terms of calling for action to be taken. Team manager Wilco Zeelenberg did however make clear he felt Marquez would not have made the corner without the contact.
The last time Lorenzo was caught out at the final corner was Barcelona 2009, by Rossi.