500cc legends Phil Read and Wayne Gardner have expressed some strong opinions regarding the controversial incident between MotoGP stars Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez at Sepang last season.
Read, speaking alongside Gardner during a televised interview on stage at the 2016 Autosport International Show
, brought up the episode when Gardner was talking about modern grand prix machinery:
Gardner: “Now obviously the manufacturers have changed [from 500cc two-strokes] to four-strokes, which I think makes it a little bit dull to watch. Particularly now all the electronics on these bikes. Obviously, the safety has improved but you just don't sit on the edge of your seat worrying about are the riders going to end up high-siding or not, it's all electronically controlled...”
Read: “Yeah but Wayne, it doesn't stop riders crashing into each other, does it? Like Marquez and Valentino, I mean - totally unfair at the Malaysian Grand Prix for Valentino to be penalised. To start at the back of the grid in the last Moto Grand Prix. When to my mind and most other people I speak to, it was Marquez's fault, who leaned on Valentino.”
Gardner: “Yeah I think it was the wrong call by the race steward to penalise Rossi and put him at the back of the grid. And Phil's right, where the whole situation was aggravated by Marquez trying to hold Rossi up so he could let Lorenzo go away. And then for that to happen, and then Marquez fell off on his own accord. Rossi didn't push him off with his knee, he pushed him off because he was leaning on him, but I think Marquez has grabbed a handful of front brake and gone down the road himself.
“But then to penalise Rossi and make him start from the back of the grid, particularly in the last race of the championship, and he'd fought all year for it, it was a little bit unfair. I thought it was an unfair call, but that's what they did and that's racing.”
Read then claimed MotoGP being “run by a Spanish group" was a factor.
Rossi was handed three penalty points for deliberately causing the incident with Marquez, forcing the #46 to start the final round in Valencia from the back of the grid. The Italian went on to lose the championship by five points to team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.
Honda's double world champion Marquez denies all of Rossi claims about trying to help Lorenzo in the closing rounds.
Read won the 500cc title with MV Agusta in 1973 and 1974, also claiming four championships in the 250cc class (Yamaha) and one 125cc crown (Norton).
Gardner was Australia's first premier-class world champion, in 1987, riding for Honda.