Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa have dismissed Valentino Rossi's claims that the Spaniards contrived to ensure fellow countryman Jorge Lorenzo won the MotoGP World title.
Lorenzo appeared to suggest that Marquez and Pedrosa had helped him at Valencia by not attempting to make a pass during the championship finale, telling the Movistar MotoGP channel: “They knew what I had in play. The fact they are Spaniards like me helped me.
“That helped me because for sure in another kind of race they would have tried to overtake, which they didn't this time.
“If Valentino had been in my position and with Italians behind they would have done exactly the same. The title had to be for Spain.”
Lorenzo later appeared to backtrack, stating that he 'could not see the race from the outside' and adding that he had gained more insight into the race from Marquez and Pedrosa's explanation over why they were unable to challenge for the win.
In the post-race press conference, Marquez issued a vigorous denial of Rossi's allegation that he had raced as Lorenzo's 'bodyguard' during the race and pointed once again to his victory at Phillip Island over Lorenzo as proof that he always tries to win.
“I think me and Dani push at 100 per cent, we know with a hot temperature we have a front problem with the tyre and we expect today that the temperature will be lower, but it was five degrees higher than yesterday so I don't know [how it was for] Dani, but I was pushing the front, especially in the beginning,” said Marquez.
“Then in the last six laps I see that it was possible, the victory, but when Dani overtake me, we lose this half second and it was impossible to catch again Jorge.
“He [Rossi] already say in Phillip Island, so it's something that I don't understand because in Phillip Island I give to him five points and [Andrea] Iannone take from him four points, but after finish line in Phillip Island he come to me and say sorry because we overtake so many times, shaking hands and everything,” Marquez added.
“Then we arrive in Malaysia and happen what happened on Thursday [when Rossi accused Marquez of interfering with his race in Australia and of favouring Lorenzo for title]. Then in the race we fight, but not on the correct position because I tried to fight in the first position but it was not possible.
“Today, if I tried to be the bodyguard of Lorenzo, I will be five seconds or six seconds behind and I wouldn't take the risk to follow him. If the target was this one [to help Lorenzo] I stay ten seconds behind and don't take the risk and it was easy. But the target was always to give my hundred per cent and try to fight for the victory.
“Of course I respect all the opinions because we are professional riders and I accept when I win and when I lose. But for me, with my mentality, when people say that you didn't try to win the race, I feel insulted. Because in the end for me I think you know me and I think that always when I go out on the track I give my 100%. And this weekend you saw in the practice that I give my 100% percent again. You see in the race that I give my 100% and always I did and I will do like this.”
Pedrosa also defended his race strategy after finishing a close third when the 30-year-old made up rapid ground in the final laps to challenge Marquez for second place.
“I tried all the weekend and I worked on the pace on Saturday but I wasn't comfortable and you can see in the race, I was so much struggling,” Pedrosa said.
“In the end I could recover doing the perfect riding, but I don't think Valentino can tell how I was feeling on the bike.”