Thursday's pre-event press conference for the Valencia MotoGP season finale has been cancelled!
In an unprecedented move, all MotoGP riders and team managers will instead be summoned to a meeting with the 'Permanent Bureau', comprising of FIM president Vito Ippolito and Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, to discuss the ongoing fallout from the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Controversy continues to rage over the Sepang battle - and eventual collision - between Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez, plus the resulting penalty for the world championship leader.
Earlier this week Rossi lodged an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, to try and avoid a back of the grid start for this weekend's title showdown with team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.
Meanwhile, heated arguments continue as to what exactly happened during the contact and whether Rossi was justified in forcing Marquez wide. Honda released a statement earlier today defending Marquez against allegations he was trying to help Lorenzo by holding up the Italian, while turning the spotlight back onto what they believe was a kick by Rossi that caused the Spaniard to fall.
Rossi, Lorenzo, Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Cal Crutchlow and Dani Petrucci had been due to attend Thursday's press conference.
However the FIM and Dorna clearly feel they need to sacrifice pre-event publicity - for what is probably MotoGP's biggest race since the 2006 Rossi vs. Hayden title showdown - in order to stop the situation spiraling out of control on- or off-track this weekend.
Naturally, questions about Sepang would have dominated Thursday's press conference, potentially inflaming the situation further.
But such questions will simply be asked during less formal group interviews with riders in the paddock - arranged by each team on the Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday of a GP - assuming riders are not banned from speaking about Sepang.
Nevertheless, scrapping the Thursday press conference does mean that Rossi, Marquez and Lorenzo will not need to sit and listen to each other until at least Saturday's post-qualifying conference...
“Following the events that occurred at the Malaysian Grand Prix and further developments over the following week and given the exceptional circumstances, the Permanent Bureau of the FIM MotoGP World Championship, comprising of Messrs Vito Ippolito, FIM President, and Carmelo Ezpeleta, Chief Executive Officer of Dorna Sports, will summon all MotoGP riders and their respective team managers to address the situation on Thursday 5th November at 15.30 Local Time,” said an FIM statement.
“Given these circumstances, the pre-event press conference scheduled at 17.00 will be cancelled.”
Rossi leads Lorenzo by seven points heading into this weekend.
A decision on whether Rossi's Sepang penalty should be suspended will be made by the CAS no later than Friday, which may also have been a factor in the timing of the meeting.