Five-time 500cc world champion Mick Doohan says that no lines were crossed during the Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi clash in the climax to the MotoGP season and believes both were pushing equally hard.
The 2015 MotoGP world championship witnessed a thrilling and controversial finale when two-time champion Marquez was thrown into the spotlight during the pre-event press conference in Malaysia when Rossi accused him of trying to help Jorge Lorenzo in the race at Phillip Island.
The situation erupted when the pair collided during the Malaysian Grand Prix, leaving Marquez on the ground while Rossi was handed a last place start for the Valencia title showdown as punishment.
Despite crisis talks in Valencia in an attempt to diffuse the situation, allegations continued when Lorenzo won the race and title by finishing just ahead of Marquez and Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa, with Rossi again claiming Marquez protected Lorenzo to 'finish his work'.
Speaking at the annual end of season bash Race Of Champions at London's former Olympic Stadium, Doohan feels the on-track action was feisty but fair which made for an incredible spectacle but did think it was blown out of proportion.
“No lines were crossed. Racing is racing and it was the same back in my era where you push and bang people around you,” Doohan told Crash.net
. “It is not ballet dancing and it is fierce competition because there is a lot on the line, both of those guys are world champions and both of those guys are pushing for Grand Prix wins and neither of them want to forfeit a win. It made for great television, great reading and great entertainment and that is what MotoGP is.”
Doohan, who dominated the motorcycle grand prix racing scene in the mid-1990s with five consecutive world titles with Honda, says this season has been a vintage year for MotoGP but believes it was spoiled slightly by the media storm whipped up around Marquez and Rossi.
“I think 2015 has been fantastic,” he said. “It was a great season for the sport as a whole. I think some people are taking a lot of it too far between Marquez and Rossi. At the end of the day it is sport. I think the media has beat up a lot more of it than was necessary. But in the heat of the moment a lot people say things and do things but it is just racing.”
Doohan became the sole representative from two-wheeled disciplines at Race Of Champions because new MotoGP world champion Lorenzo was forced to pull out at the last minute after suffering second-degree burns when a radiator pipe came lose from a motorcycle he was preparing to ride, spraying boiling fluid onto the Spaniard's leg.
“Unfortunately, Lorenzo injured himself since the last Grand Prix and I think he would be pretty disappointed that he is not here,” he said. “He was here a few years ago and we had a bunch of fun and he was quick so it would have been interesting to see how after a couple of years on he would do.
“It is a bunch of fun out there. For me if I can get close to these guys then I am happy. Of course it would be great to win but the reality is some of these guys are half my age and they race for a living whereas I do it for fun every now and then.”