Valentino Rossi opted out of explaining the controversial qualifying incident with Marc Marquez at his home grand prix in any great detail, saying his great rival “made me lose a lot of time” prior to his late lunge at turn 14.

The watching world was reminded of the pair’s memorable clashes at Sepang in 2015 and Argentina three years later as they contested the same bit of track in the closing seconds of a dramatic Q2 at Misano.

Starting their final lap, Rossi was ahead. While Marquez claimed the 40-year old Italian knew he exceeded track limits on the exit of turn six – an act that meant his effort would be cancelled – but continued riding “riding fast, but not super fast”, the nine-time world champion countered.

“I exited from turn six,” Rossi said. “We always exit on the wire [egde], and I didn't know if I touched the green, sincerely. I was pushing, and I think that I was not on the green.

“So I was on my hot lap, because it was my last chance. I [only] saw later on the paper that I touched the green.”

Achieving red sectors through the first half of the lap, Marquez then overtook the Italian at the fearsome Curvone bend, a move that slowed them both down. Rossi’s subsequent last gasp move at turn 14 was, in his words, an attempt to recover time in a bid to rectify his lap.

“About the problem with Marquez, I was on my hot lap, I was pushing 100 percent and he overtook me in the fast corner, in turn eleven, and already he made me lose a lot of time,” he said.

“But in overtaking me he went on the green. I tried to stay more inside to overtake him, because I expected he would slow down after being on the green, but he stayed on the line. I tried to overtake him back in the hairpin. But I arrived wide, so... in the end we lost all the chance to improve the lap time.”

Unsurprisingly Marquez saw it differently: “It was close because I didn’t expect [it],” said the current championship leader. "It was an aggressive reaction. But anyway I didn’t expect also because his lap was cancelled because on the exit of turn six – and this is important. For that reason, it's difficult to understand what was the intention.”

Rossi and Marquez were summoned to a hearing with the FIM Stewards Panel on Saturday afternoon to discuss their opposing views. But no further action was taken.

On whether Rossi should have been punished for his move, Marquez attempted to appear unaffected. “I don’t care because he's not a contender for the championship. So I don’t know, just I will not lose time to push for a penalty. I don’t care. It's not my decision.”

The incident completely overshadowed Rossi’s qualifying efforts. After a solid weekend of work during which he has used a variety of new parts from Yamaha, he placed seventh on the grid for his home grand prix.

“I want and I tried to start a little bit in a better position, because with a race tyre my pace was not so bad,” he said. “But in the qualifying, on the first lap I was quite good, but in the second half of the track, I had a lot of traffic, a lot of riders that were waiting, so I lost a little bit.

“And after, I tried another time with the second tire like always, but unfortunately, I was not very fast. So I was not able to improve, and I have to start from the third row.”

Among the new items is a carbon swingarm, a piece the Italian took to immediately at the recent Misano test. “I'm happy, because I feel good from the first moment, I have a good feeling when I ride the bike, is more precise,” he said.

“So we will continue for sure. It's the first one, so we need to improve, but we will continue like this, but we try also to improve track by track.”

 

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