Livio Suppo hopes calm heads prevail and that Valentino Rossi 'will understand Honda and Marc Marquez are not against him' following an acrimonious end to a thrilling MotoGP season.
Having dropped out of the title fight due to a string of falls, reigning double champion Marquez was thrown back into the spotlight when he was accused by Rossi of trying to help Jorge Lorenzo in the Phillip Island race.
The situation rapidly escalated when the pair clashed a few days later in the Malaysian Grand Prix, leaving Marquez on the ground and Rossi with a last place start for the Valencia title showdown.
When Lorenzo won the race and title by finishing just in front of Marquez and Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa, Rossi again accused Marquez of protecting Lorenzo to 'finish his work'.
There is no way to conclusively prove or disprove such a claim. But with Rossi and his millions of supporters convinced of a conspiracy, Marquez's explanation - that his plan for a late victory pass was ruined when he was briefly overtaken by Pedrosa
- is falling on deaf ears.
Repsol Honda team principal Suppo was asked how Marquez should deal with the situation.
“Go on holiday and relax. I think there's nothing really we can add, especially Marc. If people believe him we are happy, if they don't I think 'time is a gentleman',” replied Suppo, using an Italian phrase that can mean 'time is a healer' or 'the truth will come out'.
“I'm just so sad for what happened on Sunday [at Valencia] because I know that Marc really wanted to win this race. And when I saw him in parc ferme, I've never seen him so disappointed. Because he is a clever guy - you must be stupid to do deliberately what happened on Sunday.
“But it looks like at this moment whatever we do or touch is a problem! So finally the attack of Dani [on Marquez, late in the race] - we create by ourselves a problem and for Valentino it is easy to then say 'I told you'.
“Again, if you think seriously, with no pressure, you understand that it is crazy for Marc not trying to beat Jorge here,” Suppo continued. “Even if Marc finished in front of Jorge with Dani in third, Jorge was still world champion with the same points [as Rossi].
“That would probably be even better, because this championship was deserved by both of them [Rossi and Lorenzo] and it would then have been decided only by different race wins.”
If nothing else, the controversy has helped MotoGP gain wider exposure and record viewing figures.
“I would prefer to have zero exposure and not this problem,” Suppo commented. “It's a real pity because this championship has been very good. Like two years ago it went to the very end. Two years ago it was two Spanish riders [Marquez and Lorenzo] fighting for the championship here and there were zero polemics.
“I just hope this mess stops and people will think more calmly and understand it is not always white or black. As I said before, the time is a gentleman and usually after a while the super fan will hopefully stop.”
Rossi had blasted social media criticism directed at Andrea Iannone for passing him on the last lap in Australia, but that was nothing compared to the abuse received by Marquez and Honda.
“Unfortunately nowadays with social media it is really embarrassing to see some of the comments, honestly,” Suppo said. “So this is something that in the modern era we should think about because it is easy to speak badly about people without showing your face.
“I believe that the sport has the capability to be a wonderful sport and to continue on the same way as we have done until Sepang.”
Nevertheless Suppo, who has crossed swords with Rossi as a team manager for Casey Stoner as well as Marquez, insists he has more respect than ever for his fellow Italian.
“I have a lot of respect for Valentino. I met Valentino coming back from Indy I think, in the lounge at the airport, and I said honestly I have more respect now than I have 10 years ago,” Suppo declared.
“Because what he's done this season - it doesn't matter if he won the championship or not - has been unbelievable; 36 years old, coming from the 500 and still able to fight with the young guns that are riding in a totally different way. Valentino has been able to change his style to challenge Casey, Jorge, Dani and now Marc.
“And this year to beat almost all of them and lose the championship by only five points has been really unbelievable. What happened last week didn't change at all my perception and my respect for Valentino.
“Of course we cannot be happy with the situation that has been created by the words of Valentino, starting from the Sepang press conference.
“I really hope Valentino will understand that Honda and Marc are not against him. We just try to do our championship and if he thinks differently I'm very sorry, but it's not like that.”