Jorge Lorenzo says he has lost respect for Valentino Rossi after the MotoGP championship leader clashed with Marc Marquez in the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.
Rossi received three penalty points from Race Direction for 'irresponsible riding' after he forced Marquez wide before contact was made between the pair, with his Honda rival crashing out of the race after engaging in a fierce battle with the Italian on the previous three laps.
Lorenzo, who finished second behind Dani Pedrosa to close the gap to seven points in the championship with one race remaining, said: “I think not only me but a lot of people will have less respect for him as a sportsman. Unbelievable rider, maybe the greatest rider in history, but as a sportsman I think many people will change their opinion.
“He have in the past some similar actions but today was the worst one. I don't think this type of action is a good action coming from [someone] supposed to be a great champion like Valentino Rossi is, no?
“One thing is a contact, another thing is to pull a bike completely straight, look at the rider and pull the leg out to make him crash. This shouldn't be accepted in this sport.”
Lorenzo is the hot favourite to win his third premier class title following Sunday's developments but claims that should Rossi somehow emerge victorious and seal his his tenth world crown, the 36-year-old will not be a 'fair' champion.
“Valentino is starting in last position of the grid and maybe the conditions rain, or if it is dry maybe he will have a few more problems but he can be world champion and this is not the fair final of the championship, knowing what has happened today at this track,” said Lorenzo.
“If this happens [Rossi wins world title], for me it will not be a fair champion this time, in this year; he will be a fair champion in the rest of the championships, but not this one.”
However, asked if his attitude towards Rossi will change, Lorenzo said: “No, to me he didn't do anything. I'm just not sharing [the decision] that Race Direction make because in 2005 I made something quite similar but I crashed also and I got zero points and I got one race disqualification, so sometimes it is not the same, the decision they can take.”
Lorenzo, who explained that he left the podium celebrations following the race because he was physically drained and needed time to recover, was asked how he regarded his relationship with Marquez, who has been accused by Rossi of favouring the Majorcan for the title.
“He is one of the best, if not the best at this moment in MotoGP and [I have] a lot of respect, nothing more,” Lorenzo said.