Yamaha Motor Racing Managing director Lin Jarvis has explained why an appeal was made against the decision to hand Valentino Rossi three Penalty Points, in the wake of the Italian's collision with Marc Marquez in Sepang.
In a widely debated move that has serious repercussions for the eventual destination of the 2015 championship, Rossi will start the race at Valencia from the back of the grid, having amassed four Penalty Points over the course of the year.
Even though the decision was heavily criticised by Rossi's team-mate and championship rival Jorge Lorenzo – along with several other MotoGP riders – for not being severe enough, the Movistar Yamaha squad launched an appeal.
Speaking in the wake of an astonishing day of events in Sepang, Jarvis said the team's role is “to protect the interests of our riders” and, as a team, they felt Rossi's punishment was “quite harsh”, while simultaneously acknowledging the nine-time world champion had made "an incorrect move.”
“Our job as a team is to protect the interests of our riders, so while we cannot deny that Valentino's move is not the sort of move that we want to see in MotoGP, at the same time we feel the penalty is quite harsh, especially when Valentino is not normally a dirty rider. He's not a rider that creates issues or problems for other people.
“As a team, we appealed to the FIM and the first decision of the race control. They heard him, also consulted race direction, consulted Marc Marquez and Honda, and finally after a period of 45 minutes we have the results of the appeal, which was rejected.
“The original penalty of three points against Valentino stands, and in the process of appealing, if the FIM steward rejects your appeal and agrees with the original decision, it is no longer appealable – it becomes final. It's case closed. That means now that Valentino Rossi will go to Valencia with this penalty.”
Treading a fine line to maintain order in the Yamaha ranks, Jarvis stated that he respected Lorenzo's opinion that disqualification would have been a more appropriate punishment for Rossi. However, it was just that: an opinion, he said. He could comment no further on the matter.
The Yamaha man continued that he feels the event will serve to motivate Rossi further ahead of the final showdown in Valencia, an event in which the final outcome is far from certain in his eyes.
“If anything, knowing him [Rossi], this will probably make him more motivated to come back and to try to do another memorable season like this. And the championship isn't over - you have to keep that in mind. He has a seven-point lead, and while he's at a massive disadvantage starting from the back, in racing anything can happen.
“You never know if he can salvage something. Anything can happen. I've been to Valencia before where I was dead sure Valentino was going to win the championship and he didn't because something happened – something uncontrollable.
“MotoGP is highly competitive, and while it gives Jorge a lot more chance to win, he still has a seven-point deficit. Should for instance both riders fail to finish the championship, Valentino would win. The game is far from over.”
Like many, Jarvis feels Marquez's moves were “revenge” for the comments Rossi had made about the Spaniard on Thursday and said, “you have to... question the motivation of the style of his race and the attempt to clearly disturb Valentino to the maximum.”
Still, he stated he was “very sad” Rossi's “incorrect move” had resulted in Marquez falling.
“What happened today was the result of at least a couple of races of fierce competition between Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi. From the first race in Phillip Island that led to the accusation that Valentino made the other day, and what we saw today was the revenge of Marc Marquez towards Valentino's statements in the media.
“If you analyse the race in detail and study every move of Marc's, none of them were illegal in any way – but I think you have to see the bigger picture and question the motivation of the style of his race and the attempt to clearly disturb Valentino to the maximum.
“That finally resulted in an overflow of frustration from Valentino, that resulted in a boiling over. He made a move, an incorrect move, that took Marc out towards the side of the track. Unfortunately Marc tried to turn in, hit the leg, and that caused him to fall off.”
On Rossi's claim that the initial contact between the two machines may have caused Rossi's foot to slip from his foot-peg - rather than the Italian deliberately kicking out at his rival - Jarvis continued, “It's not only what I have seen, it's also what Valentino explained. I think the images back it up.
“A kick is an aggressive forwards motion, but in this case his foot went backwards. Valentino said he was touched, his leg went off the foot rest and flicked out. I don't think it's very wise to try and kick a 157kg RCV! I'm not defending the actions – and that's why he received the penalty. It was judged that it was a move not in the spirit of the rules of racing.”
Jarvis felt Mike Webb and Race Direction had made the right call to review the incident after - rather than during - the race, considering the weight of the championship outcome rested upon his shoulders.
He then revealed he had been unaware Rossi was going to make his now infamous verbal attack on Marquez on Thursday.
“I was aware of his opinion of the race in Australia, but I wasn't aware he was going to say what he did. You can't control every incident and everything that happens. Normally we have a good connection with our riders, and we talk beforehand about things – but I think this was something Valentino felt strongly about, and it was his decision.”
As to the eventual results of Rossi's harsh words, Jarvis was philosophical. “There are always many different ways of addressing a problem. Every action has a consequence. That's life!”