MotoGP world title contender Jorge Lorenzo has suggested Valentino Rossi escaped a harsher penalty after his on-track conflict with Marc Marquez at Sepang 'because of his name'.
Lorenzo, who finished as the runner-up behind Dani Pedrosa to close the deficit in the championship standings by four points to seven ahead of the finale at Valencia in Spain in two weeks' time, accused Race Direction of showing favouritism to the nine-time world champion after the controversial incident in Malaysia.
Rossi received three penalty points and will start from the back of the grid in Valencia after deliberately slowing down during the race before his left leg appeared to make contact with Marquez's Honda, causing the 22-year-old to crash following a fierce battle for third place on the opening laps.
A disgruntled Lorenzo now has one hand on his third premier class crown ahead of the final round, but the Majorcan feels Rossi got off lightly.
“To be honest I just hear the decision and I don't think it is a good decision, because he take out Marc and Marc crash and get zero points, but Valentino keeps 16 points,” Lorenzo said in the post-race press conference.
“I think it is unfair and maybe because [of] his name, he can get no points [deducted] this time. I saw [the incident] once. It's unbelievable; I saw and I didn't believe – it doesn't enter my head to do these kind of things, never in my life.
“In this kind of corner that you are completely in the angle, braking in the angle, to put up straight the bike and slow the other rider and make like this with the leg – it's unbelievable that this happen,” added the 28-year-old.
“But it happened and Race Direction made a decision and we have to respect it, but I don't share it to be honest.”
Pressed on what he felt would have been a fair penalty for Rossi, Lorenzo opened up further and said the Italian was left off the hook by Race Direction because of his legendary status.
“Minimum, Valentino should have the same points as Marc because without this action, Marc would not crash and he will finish probably in third position or fourth position. If he didn't finish the race and get zero points Valentino should make the same,” he said.
“With much less aggressive actions by other riders, they get much higher penalty sanctions but, as I say before, his name is very important for the championship and maybe because of that, he doesn't get any sanction on points in the championship.
“Yeah, he will start last [in Valencia] but I think it is not fair; we have to respect it, I am not Race Direction and I was not involved in this action but once knowing this decision I can say that I don't share it.”
Lorenzo flatly denied being present in Race Direction when the incident was under review following reports that the Yamaha rider had entered the office and was reacting angrily to the decision.