“I'll be doing the same as all you guys should be doing, which is to look lap-by-lap at the times,” that was the advice of 500cc legend Randy Mamola, speaking in the Sepang paddock after Sunday's dramatic MotoGP clash between Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez.
So here is a graph of the race lap times for Rossi, Marquez, race winner Dani Pedrosa and runner-up Jorge Lorenzo.
In a nutshell, Marquez and Rossi inevitably lost time during their relentless series of overtakes on lap 5 and probably on lap 6. Marquez's race then ended after the contact with Rossi on lap 7. But even when free from Marquez, Rossi only lapped quicker than Lorenzo once in the entire race and was never faster than Pedrosa.
Central to Rossi's defence, and taken into account as 'provocation' by Race Direction, is the claim that Marquez was deliberately holding up Rossi to spoil his race and title chances.
That was also the accusation made against Marquez by Rossi on Thursday, after reviewing the previous Phillip Island race.
On Sunday evening, Rossi said: “In every braking he overtake me, slow down a lot in the corners and for me he didn't open the throttle on the straights.”
Marquez rejected the allegation: “I tried to push in the beginning. I did a [2m] 0.8s. Then I made a mistake at Turn 4, where I'd been struggling all weekend. And then even though we [Marquez and Rossi] overtake many times we were riding fast, in 2m 1.9s.
“When he [Rossi] overtake me the first time, I tried to follow him, but then I saw I can be faster and then I tried to do my race.
“Of course Valentino was disturbing me and I was disturbing Valentino [during the passes], because we couldn't find the best pace. When Valentino was in front he was not very fast and after this incident, his lap time was 2m 1s-high, 2m 2s-low and I thought that I was able to ride even faster.”
Mamola's impression was that the pace of Marquez and Rossi was not suspiciously slow:
“Even with those guys passing each other the way they were, they were doing 2m 1.9s, which is still quite a fast race pace. Would Valentino have been able to close on Jorge [without the Marquez battle]? Nobody knows.
“Was Marc trying to slow in some corners? I don't think so. There were sections where Valentino was clearly faster and there were sections where he could not pull away [from Marquez].
“The only way you can find out for sure is to do like in F1, by examining the telemetry: 'Did you brake in the same zone? Did you stop the bike?'”
Marquez and Rossi passed each other nine times on lap 5 alone, is that proof of something unusual?
“Should Marc just pull over and let Valentino go? I think there was a lot of 'clouds' above both riders [after what had been said earlier in the weekend] 'I'll do this and you do that' type of thing. That's my belief.”
Mamola also saw no reason to doubt that the mistake by Marquez, which allowed Lorenzo to take over second place, was genuine.
“He picked up the back [wheel]. How many times have we seen Marc nearly crash during the season? So would you say that he could have nearly crashed trying to follow Dani into Turn 4? I would say yes.
“At the beginning of the race, trying to stay with Dani, he makes an error and everyone says 'oh, but he seemed to just let him go by'. But if he's on the kerb and nearly onto the grass - and Jorge is not a slow guy. Jorge is there for blood; to win at the beginning of the race and do his style of race.”
Mamola concluded: “No-one's going to be satisfied with the end result today. We're all up in arms because what we had in Australia was something very beautiful.”
Rossi was given three Penalty Points, Race Director Mike Webb saying: "Rossi certainly had some provocation. But, as I said to him, it doesn't matter what the provocation is. You can't react in a way that causes a rider to crash."
Having already received one Penalty Point at Misano, Rossi will start the Valencia title showdown from last on the grid. The Italian now has a seven-point advantage over team-mate Lorenzo.
Sepang: Rossi vs. Marquez - Timeline:
• Grid: Pedrosa 1st, Marquez 2nd, Rossi 3rd, Lorenzo 4th.
• Lap 1: Pedrosa, Marquez and Rossi hold their positons, while Lorenzo recovers to fourth after losing ground in opening turns.
• Lap 2: Lorenzo passes Rossi for third place at Turn 1.
Jorge Lorenzo 2m 0.606s
Dani Pedrosa 2m 0.795s
Marc Marquez 2m 0.818s
Valentino Rossi 2m 1.268s
• Lap 3: Marquez makes a mistake under braking, causing him to run wide and over the kerb on the exit of Turn 4. That allows Lorenzo to pass him for second place. Marquez and Rossi are now third and fourth.
Dani Pedrosa 2m 0.822s
Jorge Lorenzo 2m 0.894s
Valentino Rossi 2m 1.361s
Marc Marquez 2m 2.003s
• Lap 4: Rossi overtakes Marquez for the first time, at Turn 4.
Jorge Lorenzo 2m 0.932s
Dani Pedrosa 2m 0.972s
Valentino Rossi 2m 1.127s
Marc Marquez 2m 1.360s
• Lap 5: Marquez briefly passes Rossi into Turn 1. Marquez tries again at Turn 4. Again Rossi retaliates, but is a little wide and Marquez squeezes under Rossi on the exit of Turn 5. Rossi passes on the brakes into Turn 9 but Marquez holds on around the outside. Rossi switches to the inside at Turn 11 and gets back in front, however he almost falls - his outside leg coming off the footpeg - and Marquez gets ahead again.
Jorge Lorenzo 2m 1.174s
Dani Pedrosa 2m 1.247s
Marc Marquez 2m 2.107s
Valentino Rossi 2m 2.363s
• Lap 6: Rossi dives inside Marquez at Turn 7, forcing the Honda rider to lift his bike. Rossi then looks back and gestures at Marquez on the exit of Turn 8. Dorna TV commentator Nick Harris: “Marc Marquez is saying back to him 'you shouldn't have said all those things on Thursday night if you didn't want to scrap like this old chap!'” Marquez sweeps inside Rossi to reclaim third at Turn 14.
Jorge Lorenzo 2m 1.335s
Dani Pedrosa 2m 1.408s
Marc Marquez 2m 1.938s
Valentino Rossi 2m 1.937s
• Lap 7: Rossi makes his next move on the inside at Turn 10, holding Marquez off through Turns 11 and 12. The Honda rider then goes for the outside at the long Turn 13 right hander - Rossi sits up and looks across at Marquez twice as he slows down, while squeezing Marquez to the outside of the track. The pair tangle on the entry to the Turn 14 right-hander, leading onto the back straight, leaving Marquez on the floor.
Fastest race laps:
1. Jorge Lorenzo 2m 0.606s (lap 2)
2. Dani Pedrosa 2m 0.795s (lap 2)
3. Marc Marquez 2m 0.818s (lap 2)
4. Valentino Rossi 2m 1.127s (lap 4)