Con­tro­ver­sial race clash erupts into press con­fer­ence fury

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Buying&selling - SI­MON PAT­TER­SON IN ITALY MOTOGP RE­PORTER si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­

Jorge Lorenzo has ac­cused Valentino Rossi of mak­ing an overly-agres­sive pass which could have led to the pair crash­ing out of the nine-times world cham­pion’s home race – spark­ing a fu­ri­ous ex­change be­tween the Yamaha team-mates.

Pole man Lorenzo was the early leader in the race af­ter mak­ing his typ­i­cal fly­ing start, but Rossi was quick to hunt him down and made a move at the end of the se­cond lap that forced the Spa­niard to take eva­sive ac­tion to avoid con­tact be­tween them.

But, af­ter the pair sat down in front of the world’s me­dia in the post-race press con­fer­ence, the façade of re­spect be­tween them that has been shown in re­cent rounds came tum­bling down as they en­gaged in a fe­ro­cious ar­gu­ment about who had been in the right.

Ex­plain­ing why he made the move in the early stages of the race, Rossi ac­knowl­edged that the Misano track can be no­to­ri­ously tricky to make over­takes on, and ad­mit­ted after­wards that he knew it was key to make an early break at the start of the race.

“Over­tak­ing at Misano is al­ways a bit dif­fi­cult, and I wanted to try from the be­gin­ning. At Mugello, I was be­hind Lorenzo and it brought me bad luck with the bro­ken en­gine, so this time I wanted to stay in front.”

How­ever, the reign­ing world cham­pion saw the move dif­fer­ently, go­ing on the warpath against his team-mate by re­tal­i­at­ing with the be­lief that the move was not only dan­ger­ous but un­nec­es­sary thanks to Rossi’s speed ad­van­tage over him.

“You can have dif­fer­ent opin­ions, but my opin­ion is that the over­take was maybe too ag­gres­sive. He didn’t need to make that over­take, but that’s his style. Other rid­ers over­take more cleanly. If I hadn’t put the bike straight we would have crashed. Maybe he wouldn’t have crashed, but I would have.

“For me he didn’t need to make the over­take, be­cause he was faster than me any­way and would have over­taken me even­tu­ally. That’s my opin­ion and of course he will have an­other opin­ion.”

How­ever, his re­sponse elicited a fu­ri­ous ex­change be­tween the pair, with Rossi in­ter­rupt­ing the press con­fer­ence, cut­ting off Lorenzo mid-stream and im­me­di­ately go­ing on the at­tack to counter his claims.

He said: “In Sil­ver­stone, Mar­quez said noth­ing and we over­took 10 times like this. I don’t know why you say this, be­cause it’s not true. And you al­ways over­take ag­gres­sively too, so why do you just say that it is me?”

The ex­change comes as ten­sions be­tween the pair, now set to go down to the wire for the run­ner-up spot in the 2016 ti­tle chase, come to a head.

Aided by a de­ci­sion seem­ingly made by Yamaha to be­gin the de­vel­op­ment of their YZF-M1 ma­chine in a di­rec­tion that suits Rossi rather than Du­cati- bound Lorenzo, the bat­tle be­tween the pair could well be­come the defin­ing story of the re­main­ing five rounds of the 2016 sea­son.

Mar­quez backs Rossi

Rep­sol Honda’s Marc Mar­quez says he saw noth­ing wrong with the over­take pulled by Rossi in the open­ing min­utes of Sun­day’s race.

Both re­cip­i­ent and provider of many equally ag­gres­sive moves while locked in a vi­cious bat­tle with Rossi him­self only a week be­fore at Sil­ver­stone, the Spa­niard was sur­prised by Lorenzo’s re­sponse.

“I was a bit be­hind them, but for me, it was a nor­mal over­take. It was ag­gres­sive, but when you are in a home cir­cuit you al­ways give more. Valentino is smart and he knew Jorge had a good pace, so he made an ag­gres­sive move but it was within the limit.”

We can safely say there are no team or­ders here

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