Repsol Honda team boss Alberto Puig believes the controversial incident between rider Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Argentina was no more than a “racing incident,” but said he could understand the anger felt by the Yamaha garage.

Puig accompanied Marquez to the Movistar Yamaha garage in the wake of a chaotic MotoGP race in the hope of expressing contrition to nine-time world champion Rossi, who crashed on the outside of turn 13 as a result of an aggressive move by the Repsol Honda rider.

The situation, he explained, had been “complicated” by an issue that caused Marquez’s bike to stall, and felt the Rossi incident on the penultimate lap arose due to the precarious track conditions on the entry to turn 13, where there was clearly water on the track.

“I think it was a really complicated day for Marc,” began Puig. “From our understanding it was not 100% what happened on the grid. Normally the bike doesn't stall on the grid and this was the starting point. And from there I mean it was a continuation of circumstances that made it more complicated.

“For sure the rider acted on what he thought and believed when he was seeing that situation. As you can imagine when you are on a starting grid with 20 riders behind you with their engines on, you want to be in a safe position. So he went to his position because he thought the marshals were telling him to go there and nobody could take him out from that position and so that was the starting point to not a very good race.

“I think Marc explained really well what happened with Aleix. It's true he came to him very fast, he was lapping three or four seconds faster than Aleix and maybe approached to him a little faster.

“On the second problem with Valentino, it's true that at that corner if you check on TV there is water just on the line. So at that time it looked like he had a lock, he had to release the brake and run out.

“He had some space, if you check the TV he was not really on the limit. I mean Valentino also ran out a little bit. It's not like Marc came in, in a position where there was another rider. Both riders went out a little bit and unfortunately Marc - due to this problem with the water - touched him and then Vale crashed on the grass.

“We understand it was a racing incident and of course we are very sorry for it. But of course, in this type of situation everyone has his own interpretation. Race Direction has his interpretation and the riders have his own interpretation. Of course we believe in our rider, what he told us.”

The incident caused Rossi to lambast Marquez in the media, the Italian stating his rival “is destroying our sport.” Yamaha managing director Lin Jarvis also weighed in, saying he felt race direction needed to take further action to curb some of the reigning world champion’s more aggressive tendencies.

Reacting to these comments, Puig responded, “First of all, I think Valentino has a lot of experience and he believes that these things can happen in a race because he is a racer, a champion. When conditions on the track are difficult these things may happen.

“If it's going to be blown up, frankly speaking I think it's not the story. I mean we are really sorry about what happened. On the other hand, we don't think that the rider was out of control. I mean there was a racing incident, the track was slippery, tricky and this happened.

“Of course, me as a rider in the past, I understand Valentino and Yamaha. They are angry and not happy with the situation. But this can happen and has happened to all of us many times through the history of racing.”

Reflecting on Marquez’s attempted apology to Rossi in pit lane, which was immediately rejected by Yamaha in no uncertain terms, Puig reflected, “Well I think after the race when Marc came into the pit, the first thing he said by himself was that he wanted to apologise, just to explain. So it was Marc's decision to go there, which says a lot about the rider.

“We went there of course and they were not happy and they asked us to leave, which I can understand, believe me. Because if this happens to your rider, you are not happy. But once again this is racing and what more can we do. We went to apologise, we feel sorry, but there's nothing more we can do and there's no mean to keep on talking.

“We just hope that hey can understand and accept that we apologise for something that we believe was not a real mistake of the rider, but of course the consequence was that Valentino crashed. This we understand.”

 

Comments

Loading Comments...