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MotoGP Jerez: Rossi and Marquez: No grudge match

“These last lap [battles] are maybe the nicest thing about motorbikes and MotoGP” – Marc Marquez.
MotoGP stars Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez insist it will be business as usual at Jerez this weekend, despite their dramatic clash in Argentina.

Determined to keep a race lead he had held from the start, albeit with the softer rear tyre, Marquez was sent to the ground after clipping the Italian's rear wheel.

The incident occurred moments after Marquez had bumped Rossi as the Italian snatched the lead at the Turn 5 hairpin, on the penultimate lap.

“We didn't talk, but I think we both already understand what happened,” Marquez said at Jerez on Thursday. “That was there in Argentina and here is another race and it is not necessary to talk about it.”

Pressed to describe the incident from his point of view, something he had carefully avoided immediately after the race, the reigning double champion added:

“It was what you saw on the camera. It was a change of direction and when Valentino changed I didn't expect and then I was unlucky to touch the front wheel, but sometimes this happens in races. It was the last two laps, you push 100 percent. But it was only that.

“On that change of direction also maybe the Yamaha does a different line there compared to the Honda. But I understand. I think he understands also.”

Seven time MotoGP champion Rossi, who is now 30-points clear of Marquez after his second win in three races, was then given his chance to respond.

“I agree yes. For sure it was a very big pressure for both. We touched in the change of direction and unfortunately Marc touched my swingarm and he crashed. Just this.”

Asked if he had taken an unusual line on the exit of the corner, a theory raised by some as causing the contact, Rossi replied:

“No I don't think. For me it was the first time that we were together. Maybe in that change of direction the Honda and Yamaha did a slightly different line. We were very close and when I changed direction we touched each other and unfortunately Marc crashed.”

Marquez would not have been aware of Rossi's normal line from Turn 5 to Turn 6 since he had led from the start of the race. Other riders also commented on the issue of different racing lines taken by different bikes.

“I think the different styles of the bikes, obviously you can see on the track,” said LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow. “The Honda [style] is braking really late into corners. So if you have one guy in front of you, you come really close to them. If you look at Marc in the first year, how many times he came really close to the rider in front, it's because of the style of the bike. But you have to learn the competitors' bike, as well as their style.”

Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso, now Rossi's closest title rival, added: “When you fight you have to understand the rider in front of you, which kind of line he's doing… It's always nice to fight very close. Sometimes it can be dangerous or you can crash like Marc. But this is one of the good and fun things of racing.”

Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo has been vocal in terms of criticising contact from the likes of Rossi and Marquez in the past.

“[Rossi and I] raced together a lot of years and we were very close to crashing, especially at Motegi [2010] I think! And at Montmelo [2009]. But still we stayed on the bike. You have to be careful in MotoGP, not only in your riding but the guy in front of you and sometimes the guy who is following. So it is not an easy job.”

Marquez may have come off worse in Argentina, but he insists such battles are what make MotoGP great.

“These last lap [battles] are maybe the nicest thing about motorbikes and MotoGP. And you know this sometimes happens in races. You never know if you will be lucky or unlucky. But okay, next time I will try to manage in another way.”

Both Rossi and Marquez agreed that there would be “no change” in their relationship because of the incident.

But why, Rossi was asked, is that the case given the frosty relationship between the Italian and many of his previous title rivals, such as Max Biaggi and Sete Gibernau?

“Every story was a little bit different,” Rossi replied. “Because with Biaggi sincerely we never had a great relationship, so more or less it remained the same! With Sete we were good friends, but our relationship became a lot more difficult after Qatar [2004] because I think he played a dirty game.”

Rossi was referring to a back-of-the-grid race start imposed for the overnight cleaning of his grid position by team members. The #46 blamed Gibernau as the source of the protest, which ultimately saw Max Biaggi also punished.

“I had to start from last position, I crashed, I had a problem also with my finger and I lost a lot of points. So from that moment it was a little bit more difficult,” Rossi said. “But now with Sete we are friends again.

“When you race together for sure it is difficult to say that you are good friends, but you can have a good relationship. Now more or less between everybody it is like this. On the track everybody tries the maximum to try to arrive in front, but have always respect and a good relationship outside.

“So I think we will continue like this.”

Race Direction soon declared no further action would be taken over the Argentina incident. However more bad news followed for Marquez when he fractured his left little finger in a dirt track accident, prompting surgery ahead of this weekend's race.

Both Rossi and Marquez have made brilliant if brutal passes at the final turn of the Jerez race, Rossi while fighting Sete Gibernau for victory in 2005 and Marquez against Jorge Lorenzo for second place in 2013.

So is it better to be first or second if they are fighting for victory heading into that corner on Sunday?

“Here in Jerez the last corner has a lot of great overtaking and battles," said Rossi. "Doohan with Criville, me with Gibernau, but also Marc with Jorge. Difficult to say which is the best position, first or second. It depends on many things, also how strong you are in the last braking. It can be very interesting, yes!”

Marquez added: “If I will arrive behind [Rossi, in second] I will be lucky because I know that this weekend I will not be at my 100%. But we will see. If I have the opportunity to arrive there, on the last lap you never know. You just give your 100% and then we will see what happens.”

Marquez beat Rossi to victory by 1.4s at Jerez last season, but The Doctor is the most successful rider at Jerez with eight wins, including six in the premier-class.

A top three finish on Sunday would mean a record 200 podiums for Rossi in grand prix racing.

Tagged as: Honda , Yamaha , Valentino Rossi , Marquez

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April 30, 2015 8:43 PM
Last Edited 111 days ago

Didn't see the conference but everything I've read from Marquez on the subject you can tell he doesn't blame himself for a stupid move that luckily didn't take both of them out. Marquez should have been penalized for this and many other dangerous moves he's made on riders.


April 30, 2015 9:49 PM

Gilles I think Marquez is a little rattled, not in the sense he's in a fetal position crying himself to sleep, but his over aggressive moves show a bit of desperation. I think he's believes he's the best (due to past 2 years) and other riders should just move over and let him through and how dare the old guy not let me pass him. I'm sure he's surprised that he can't just take off into the sunset and by that he's a little rattled.

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