Defeated Valentino Rossi rages at Marc Marquez after missing out on MotoGP crown
Italian claims Spaniard Marquez helped countryman Jorge Lorenzo to title
Valentino Rossi went on a rant against Marc Marquez after falling short in his attempt to win another MotoGP title, accusing the Spaniard of ruining his championship chances by helping countryman Jorge Lorenzo in the final three races of the season.
Lorenzo won Sunday’s Valencia GP from pole position to clinch his third MotoGP title. Rossi needed to come second but couldn’t manage more than a fourth-place finish after starting from the back of the grid because of a penalty for kicking Marquez in the previous race.
While Lorenzo celebrated, Rossi was left complaining.
The veteran Italian accused Marquez of not trying his best to compete with Lorenzo, saying his behaviour was “embarrassing” and the championship was not “won on the track.” Marquez said it was an “insult” to accuse him of not trying to win.
Rossi’s verbal attack after the chequered flag provided a fitting end to the season, which was already filled with controversy after the Italian forced Marquez to crash at the Malaysian GP two weeks ago.
“I think that the situation was already bad,” Rossi said. “But today was embarrassing for everybody because it was unbelievable, the behaviour of Marquez is something very bad for everything, especially for the sport.”
Marquez stayed close to Lorenzo from the start but never attempted a move for the lead throughout the 30-lap race at the Ricardo Tormo circuit outside of Valencia. Rossi said Marquez had the pace on his Honda to get past Lorenzo’s Yamaha if he wanted to.
“For sure the Hondas were faster,” the 36-year-old Rossi said. “We know that in the second part of the race Honda (has) a better potential but Marquez just protected Lorenzo like he did in Phillip Island (Australia) and also Sepang (Malaysia). At the end I think that also Lorenzo have to not be very happy, as it is not a championship that was won on the track.”
Marquez, winner of the last two championships, had already secured third place in the standings.
“I am happy because now everybody sees what I said in Australia,” Rossi said. “I don’t understand the behaviour of Marquez but sincerely for me it is very difficult to say something to him because I hope that he will understand what he did in these last three races in the future of his career.”
Rossi said that Marquez appeared to try to keep him from winning his eighth MotoGP title.
“I think that after (the Japanese GP) I have the potential to win the championship but unfortunately from the race in Phillip Island something changed and in these last three races we saw something that we never saw before in our sport.”
Marquez defended himself and said he was setting up an attack for the lead in the final few laps but was surprised by Dani Pedrosa’s attempt to pass him.
“It is clear that the words of Valentino to his fans will weigh a lot,” Marquez said. “Valentino has won with charisma throughout his career and he is the benchmark for any rider. For me, for a rider with a winning mentality, telling people I did not want to win a race is an insult because whenever I go out I go to win and do the best job possible.”