Friday, October 23


Rossi: "I think from Phillip Island it is very clear that Jorge have a new supporter, that is Marc."

In an extraordinary statement at the official Dorna pre-event press conference ahead of this weekend's Shell Advance Malaysian Grand Prix, Movistar Yamaha's Valentino Rossi accused Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez of helping Jorge Lorenzo in last weekend's Pramac Australian MotoGP race.

Going into the Australian race, Rossi lead Lorenzo in the championship chase by 18 points - 283 to 265 - but after the epic 27 lap battle, Rossi's lead was trimmed to 11 points with just two races remaining.

Perhaps feeling the pressure of having led this year's title chase since the first round at Losail, Qatar in March, Rossi went to the pre-Malaysian GP press conference gripping a list of race times from the Australian event and claimed the Honda rider was in cahoots with Yamaha man Lorenzo.

"The race in Phillip Island, was very interesting," said Rossi.  "First of all it was a great battle with 52 overtaking moves. It was high speed, great level, great bikes, great riders.  If we can see another race like this we have to speak with Márquez, because during the race, was more difficult to understand, but after when I saw the race later, it was very clear that he play with us very much.

"I think his target was not just to win the race, but also help Lorenzo to go far and try to take more points on me.  So I think from Phillip Island it is very clear that Jorge have a new supporter that is Marc.  So this change a lot, because for sure Marc have the potential to go away alone, and maybe can for sure be another type of race."

Marquez RossiMarquez was far from impressed with Rossi’s accusations.
Marquez looked stunned at the suggestion that he had been doing anything other than racing for the win.
"I've seen the race many times," replied Marquez.  "It was one of the first races that I was fighting there with the top riders, and I was riding really good.  But we did a great race, especially incredible last lap.  I don't know how was possible to see that I was catching Lorenzo a lot, and after turn four is when I believed that I was able to pass him, but really happy for this race, because it was one of the best of the year and we won it.
"I did my race, and in fact if I want to help Lorenzo, I wouldn't pass him on the last lap and I wouldn't push in the limit and I wouldn't take the risk.  But I don't know.  I don't know why they [Rossi and Iannone] say this.  We saw on data with the team and the Honda is pushing a lot the front tyre and this race was the softest compound that we have, but it was the only tyre that we had able to race, and I was struggling a lot during the race, during 27 laps in a row.
"It's true that I will try to manage well the tyre, but it is also true that in the middle of the race I try to push and I try to open a gap, but was not possible. But you already know my races will never be to push from the beginning until the end in the first position.  I did my best, I did the best race for my team, and the most important for me is that we won.  Of course sometimes you try to manage the race, but I just will help if it's my team-mate, if it's not my team-mate I will push for the victory."
Lorenzo quipped that "for sure he (Marquez)  didn't help me on the last lap!" while Iannone commented that he also thought Marquez had "played with us."
But Iannone's comments only came after he was lambasted by Rossi fans who accused him of being 'unpatriotic' in taking points off Rossi by finishing in front of him at Phillip Island.
Rossi responded to his fans' attack on Iannone by saying they were not his 'real' fans. 
"Social networks give everyone the opportunity to express their idea, even when it's stupid," Rossi said of the attacks on Iannone.  "There are people who like to blame other drivers who are more fortunate, most talented and most of them are happy, because they make what they want of their lives."
Valentino disavowed the extremist fringe of his supporters.

"Unfortunately, on all profiles there some people who speak in this way and the problem it is you can not even compare yourself to them face to face. I think in Australia Andrea did just his race. "

After the Malaysian GP Pre-Event Press Conference Rossi spoke to the Italian media about his comments on Marquez helping out Lorenzo.  Below is a translation from :
Do you think that Marquez helped out Lorenzo at Phillip Island?
“It is indeed true that Marquez did not play with both of us: he only played with me!  It is important that he knows that I know!  Now let's see what happens, but I am quite concerned because to have to fight with Lorenzo is one thing, but if you have to beat Marquez as well, everything becomes much more difficult, to be honest - the case is that he isn’t playing fair (something that a professional rider has to do in these situations).  Especially because Marquez could be very competitive in the last two races.
“For me it was a big disappointment, I was upset, it was from a few races ago that I knew, but I did not expect him to do something so obvious.  I feel disappointment, regret and worry, because surely he will try to do it here (Malaysia) and also in Valencia.”
So why did he eventually also overtake Lorenzo?
“In the race I noticed it, but I did not understand; Marquez was a step above everyone, but instead of trying to try to battle Lorenzo, he stayed with me to fight with Iannone and others.  He knew that I was losing out to the Ducati on the straight.  And so every time I tried to pass him, he re-overtook me (super-aggressive, but that's the way it is).  But then he slowed to create a gap to Jorge.  His bad luck was that on Sunday Jorge was not so strong, because otherwise it would have been over already.  Instead, he always kept Jorge in check, knowing that he could catch him within three laps, and then tried to slow me and Iannone, perhaps trying to put other riders between me and Lorenzo. And in the end, that's what he did.  It is clearly quite worrying, but it doesn't worry me too much”
Why do you think he did this?
“Because he would prefer Lorenzo to win.  He is angry at me for a personal matter.  Although he never said it, he thinks that in Argentina I made him crash; and then at Assen he is still thinking about the last chicane, in his head he feels he should have won that race.  Since then he has been angry and thinking like a child: I do not win, but you do not win either.  At this point, the lesser evil is for him is for Lorenzo to win.”
Is it something that motivates you or makes you angry?
"Let's see.  Because if he's faster yet slows down to get involved in the battles further back, it could become difficult.  Because he has nothing to lose, but I do. I have to be wary.  I'm sorry and I'm quite angry.  I did not expect that Marquez was an obstacle for this Championship, I thought I was only fighting against Jorge, as it should be.”
Because he used to idolise you, did you think this wouldn't happen?
"Watch out, here we must make a clarification: did he really idolise me?  Did he really have my poster at home?  I'm not so sure.  I'd like to go back in time and see.  It will also be a question of character, he is competing with me: I want to win as many World Championships as I can.  If I win another title, then he knows that he will have to win one more to overtake me.  If instead Jorge wins, then they have more or less the same.”
Was it better with Biaggi, because he at least made his feelings clear?
"It's true you are right.  In the long run, I prefer more his behaviour.  We were obnoxious to each other, but at least it was clear and honest.  But I do not have his phone number.”
Did this all begin in Laguna Seca?
“There have been lots of moments, at Laguna Seca he wanted to do what I had done to Stoner five years before, when he could easily have passed three corners later.  It was the first signal.  And I said so, but I did not want to believe it.  To think evil, it takes forever.”
Wanting to make a literary comparison, since we are in Malaysia, do you feel like Sandokan* fighting Yanez?
"I would not know.  I do not think that there is this difference between me and Lorenzo. I think we're both brave, each in his own way, and also a bit cunning."

*Sandokan was a fictional pirate of the late 19th century, created by Italian author Emilio Salgari.  Sandokan first appeared in publication in 1883, created by Italian author Emilio Salgari.  He was the protagonist in 11 adventure novels and was known throughout as "The Tiger of Malaysia."