Jorge Lorenzo has responded to Valentino Rossi's 'new strategy' that saw him verbally attack Marc Marquez, and claimed the Italian wouldn't have made this outburst “if he was the fastest one.”
Rossi called Marquez's Phillip Island race strategy into question on Thursday in an astonishing attack, claiming it was disrespectful.
Prompted to respond, Lorenzo felt this was wrong, considering Rossi used similar tactics – fighting with his rivals before posting an explosive final lap – when he was racing the likes of Max Biaggi and Sete Gibernau.
As he spent the majority of the Australian Grand Prix ahead of the chasing pack, Lorenzo said he wasn't best placed to determine whether Marquez had used questionable tactics in his race-long scrap with Rossi and Andrea Iannone, or indeed whether Marquez intended to help Lorenzo.
But he seriously doubted the validity of the latter, and believes they were “strange” words when viewed alongside Rossi's track record of toying with his opponents in the early four-stroke MotoGP era.
“No,” responded the 28-year old when asked if he felt Marquez was attempting to aid his championship cause in Australia. “No because mainly I was in front maybe 80 percent of the race. I was leading the race so more or less I didn't know what happened on the back.
“Secondly I really believe he was not helping me during the race. If he was he would let me win the race and give me these five points and give me the opportunity to depend on myself [if Lorenzo had won at Phillip Island he could have become world champion by winning the last two races, regardless of where Rossi finished]. But you have to ask Marquez what was his strategy. I think he responded yesterday what he thought.
“Anyway I don't think it's a good strategy from Valentino because the accusation is exactly the same as in the past he did when he was winning the world title with his rivals. With Biaggi, Gibernau, Ukawa. He was a little bit playing around during the race and then on the final lap he push and win the race. So it's a little bit strange that he speaks like that after what is his past.”
Pressed on whether he felt Rossi's claims were a sign of the Italian's nerves at this advanced and critical stage of their enthralling championship battle, Lorenzo continued that this verbal attack stems from Rossi knowing he doesn't have the pace to win the final two races at Sepang and Valencia.
“I said before in Spanish if he was fast enough to win these two races he would not say these kind of things because he would win the championship by more than eleven points. But maybe he's afraid to get the championship a little bit more complicated because it's not enough to fight mostly with Marc, me or Dani at these tracks. I think it's a strategy, no?
“I think I have responded before,” he replied when pressed further. “If he was the fastest one he would not speak about these kind of things. I think this time it was not the right strategy to be honest.”
Quizzed on the significance of the final race of 2013, when Rossi didn't run the pace of the leading trio as Lorenzo needed to win and Marquez to finish off the podium to clinch a third premier class crown, the Majorcan insisted he was only thinking of the present.
“I don't want to speak about 2013, which was two years ago. But it's true that the race was quite slow and he didn't try any overtakings. I don't know why. But this is the past. We are thinking now about the championship and I don't want to think too much about the past.”