At the close of an astonishing day of action both on and off track, Valentino Rossi has described his mood as “very disappointed” at the news he will be penalised three points, which will force him to start from the back of the MotoGP grid in the Valencia title decider.
Rossi went on to state that Marc Marquez “decided the championship” and “made me lose” it, as he feels the grid penalty will be too great a hurdle to overcome against team-mate Jorge Lorenzo at the final round, as he attempts to defend a slender seven point advantage at the close of an absorbing 2015 season.
Speaking in the Movistar Yamaha hospitality after missing the official press conference that follows the race because he was in an intense discussion with Race Direction, Rossi then corrected his initial statement.
“I don't know if I've lost the championship, but it will be very difficult now,” he conceded.
In many riders and journalists eyes, Rossi was fortunate to avoid a heavier punishment, be it in the form of a ride-through penalty or a black flag.
But the cold fact of the matter is his championship advantage has been reduced to the lowest number of points since he and Lorenzo were level after Brno in August.
Going to Valencia, a track at which Lorenzo has won twice in his MotoGP career and Rossi hasn't since 2004, he felt race direction was too harsh in its decision to award him three penalty points.
“I think the penalty is too heavy. One point in Misano because I did a mistake on Jorge's qualifying lap when he already had pole position – and I've never taken a point before because normally I am very fair on the track. I did a mistake and for me that was quite heavy already.
Before had come the astonishing statement: “For this, I'm very disappointed for the three points. He [Marquez] won. He decided the championship and he made me lose the championship. I think that he will be very happy.”
When pushed further on his title chances: “I don't know if I've lost the championship, but it will be very difficult now. These three points give me a big problem for Valencia, because if I am to start from last it is quite impossible. I don't want to make Marquez crash and that makes it heavily.”
The stem of the drama which has become the talking point of the season was Rossi's comments on Thursday evening, when he slammed Marquez for, in his eyes, helping Lorenzo in the Australian Grand Prix.
Asked whether he felt it was mistake to provoke Marquez in such a way, Rossi said, “Since Thursday I do not regret, but for sure the reality is that I made Marquez become more nervous and more angry; I made him react in a worse way. But what can you do? If I had said nothing, I think he would have more or less done the same thing.
“I thought that if you say the truth, it would make him think a little bit more – but his reaction was the opposite.” He then added another jab: “Maybe he prefers Jorge. But in the future now I will avoid him.”
Rossi went on to explain why he thought Marquez was so aggressive in the race. “I don't expect anything, but I think he is very angry from Argentina, because he thinks I did it on purpose.
“And of course he is very angry for Assen as well. But Marquez is the only rider who tries impossible braking, to put you out of the track – then he gets angry.”
Asked whether he had lost respect for Marquez, just after Lorenzo and Marquez had said they lost respect for the Italian, Rossi coyly replied, “What do you think?”
“The reaction of Jorge in this story I don't understand very well.”