Marc Marquez has given his opinion on the last-lap tangle with Valentino Rossi during qualifying at Misano, for which both MotoGP superstars were summoned to appear before the FIM Stewards.

Just as at the previous Silverstone round, Marquez was following Rossi for a tow on their final qualifying run.

But this time the Honda rider caught Rossi and went on to launch a close inside pass at the fast Turn 11 (Curvone) only to run wide on the exit, for which he would have lost the lap for exceeding track limits.

That mistake also allowed Rossi to close back in and the Italian, perhaps unhappy at the previous pass, dived inside at the Turn 14 hairpin, the block-pass forcing both riders to sit up and run wide (see video below).

But it later emerged that, unseen on the live broadcast, Rossi had also exceeded track limits earlier in the lap.

Ideally, each rider should have backed off once they had run off-track since their lap was lost and there was no point in pushing. However, both said that, while they had seen the other run wide, they were unaware they had done so until seeing the TV footage after the session.

Many feel both Rossi and Marquez would have known their laps would be cancelled, since they clearly ran over the kerbing and onto the green paint, which raises the question of their intentions in continuing to 'race' with the other...

"At first I didn’t understand what happened because that kind of overtake in qualifying practice is a little bit strange," Marquez said. "I don’t know what the intention was, you must ask him. But anyway I will explain from the beginning to be clear because people will say 'he was following Valentino again' but it was not like this.

"I went out from the box on my last run and, you can check, I was completely alone. Then when I arrived at the back straight Valentino was waiting or riding very slow and then I just [waited] behind him, because of course I was in front of him on the timesheets and my intention was not to push until my last lap.

"We started the last lap, I left some gap between us. Then when we went out from Turn Six he touched the green [outside of the kerb] so his lap was cancelled. Then I saw he was riding fast, but not super fast and I had the chance to overtake on the back straight.

"It's true that then in the fast corner I touched the green [area after the kerbing], but I only saw on the TV [after] because on the bike I didn't realise. So I kept pushing, but then we arrived at Turn 14, I just went in and saw a black-and-yellow bike arriving very fast on the inside with a speed that was impossible to turn the corner.

"Lucky for me I was able to avoid the crash, this was a good reaction. And the second reaction with my hand, I want to be clear that it was not to say 'sorry' it was just to say 'what's going on here?' because I didn't understand.

"But anyway the best thing for me is that this time I was able to avoid the crash."

Marquez would later repeat the phrase 'this time I was able to avoid the crash' (see below) prompting many to feel he was referring to their infamous Sepang 2015 clash, when Rossi - angry at fierce opposition from the Spaniard as he battled Jorge Lorenzo for the title - launched a similar block pass that ended with Marquez on the ground.

The Repsol Honda rider, firmly on course for his sixth MotoGP crown, added that he feared an injury during today's incident - but did not want to comment on a possible penalty for the home hero:

You said you don’t understand, but can you imagine what was going through Valentino's mind?

Marquez: "I can imagine but I cannot say because you must ask him and he will explain. But I know his answer."

What will his answer be you think?

Marquez: "I don’t know."

You said you know…

Marquez: "That he tried to overtake me and he went wide. That will be the answer. But anyway it was like this and the most important for me is that this time I was able to avoid the crash. He went in very very fast but I was able to avoid the crash. This is most important because an injury now to a finger can mean big damage in the championship because next week we have another race."

How close was it with Rossi to avoid the crash?

Marquez: "Yeah, of course it was close because I didn’t expect it. Because in qualifying I already brake very very late and you can see, my leg was off the footrest and I had a big moment. It was an aggressive reaction because I didn't expect it, also because his lap was cancelled because on the exit of Turn 6 – and this is important – he touched the green. For that reason, it's difficult to understand what the intention was. You can ask him!"

Do you think Valentino needs a penalty?

Marquez: "I don’t care because he's not a contender for the championship. I don’t know and I will not lose time to push for a penalty. It's not my decision."

Rossi only spoke briefly about the incident, saying he was not aware he had exceeded track limits at Turn 6 and so was pushing for a fast time when he was held up by Marquez's Turn 11 pass.

Because he still thought he could set a fast time, and that Marquez would abandon his lap, Rossi then tried the Turn 14 move: "I expected he would slow down after being on the green paint but he stayed on the line. I tried to overtake him in the hairpin, but I arrived wide."

The FIM Stewards later announced that no further action will be taken and the pair will therefore start fifth (Marquez) and seventh (Rossi) on the grid.

After three clashes during 2015 (Argentina, Assen and Sepang) an uneasy truce developed between Rossi and Marquez until they clashed again in last year's Argentine race.

 

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