ROSSI & LORENZO WAGE WAR ON TRACK AND OFF
Controversial race clash erupts into press conference fury
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