What Are The Other MotoGP Riders Saying?

The Rossi vs. Marquez controversy boils over into the MotoGP paddock.

Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez race action from Sepang

Four seconds. That’s all the time it took for Valentino Rossi to get closer to Marc Marquez at Turn 14, slow down, look at him twice, and then run him wide. Then, as we all know, came the collision. It occurred on lap 7, by which time there had already been 17 passes, (nine alone on the lap 5, a record that will likely never be broken).

At first sight, it looked like Rossi actually kicked Marquez. But after thousands replays and especially from the helicopter video, it seems that—as Rossi explained—Marquez’s handlebar touched his leg and Vale’s foot came off the peg.

Marc crashed out, while Rossi continued. With 12 laps to go, something could have been done by Race Direction. Even better, while the duel was still hot, Race Direction could have flown the black and white flag with the numbers 93 and 46 to warn both riders that they were being watched. But that didn’t occur, and after the race, Rossi was given three penalty points, which, with the one point he already had from Misano, meant he would have to start from the back of the Valencia grid.

“Our opinion was that there was some fault on both sides, but as far as the rulebook goes, Marquez did not make any contact, did not break any rules as such, but we feel that his behavior was causing problems to Rossi who reacted. Unfortunately he reacted in a way that is against the rules,” explained MotoGP Race Director Mike Webb. “It looked like we were going to have a great race, but unfortunately it ended in an incident that’s controversial.”

Marquez-Pedrosa-Rossi at Sepang

The incident has divided the MotoGP paddock. Current and former riders have taken some strong positions:

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda): "It's a bad incident for our sport. There are so many people that are watching us and these things shouldn't happen. Valentino Rossi is one the greatest of this sport, he has many fans and many young people look at him as an example. Everyone can make a mistake. We need to understand exactly what happened."

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati): "Marquez was racing for the podium, but also to disturb Rossi. Valentino's reaction exceeded the limits and it is not what we want to see. I believe Marc was provoking him and Rossi fell into his trap. Rossi contributed to the rising tension on Thursday and we can say that their relationship is finally over. For sure, Marc was playing with Valentino, but he remained within the rules".

Andrea Iannone in the paddock

Andrea Iannone (Ducati): "It's a complicated and delicate situation and everyone has his own opinion, but for sure no one likes what happened. I think Marc was riding a bit too slow. You cannot go one second slower than the pace you had just a few hours before . In my opinion, Marc had the potential to stay with Pedrosa and Lorenzo."

Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Yamaha): "I saw the incident, and I don't agree with it. It's not something that should be allowed in MotoGP. It's not a normal incident—knocking another rider down—and I have to follow what the Race Direction decided to do. We are all here to race and do the best possible. What Marquez decided to do against Valentino is up to him. We are 24 riders on the grid and we are allowed to do exactly what we want, even if we are not fighting for the championship."

Pol Espargaro (Tech 3 Yamaha): "I can understand Rossi's frustration with Marquez's disturbing him, but you cannot touch a rider deliberately and raise the foot in that way. From one side, Marc was not playing fairly; he was playing with Rossi's championship. On the other side, I'm surprised that a mature and experienced rider like Rossi could react like this. Valentino never did something like this before. Race Direction, the Safety Commission and IRTA (International Road Racing Teams Association) are there to evaluate incidents like this. Valencia will be an interesting race."

Petrucci-Rossi-Dovizioso on the podium

Danilo Petrucci (Pramac Ducati): "It's a very delicate situation and the stakes are really high. Using an image taken from football : When a foul occurs, only the defender and the lineman know exactly what really happened."

Other riders took to Twitter:

More from Stoner:
"There is a Massive difference between reckless riding and intentionally taking someone out."

More from Spies:

“Gonna be interesting. @marcmarquez93 asked for it the whole race and @ValeYellow46 intentionally gave it to him so both riders are at fault”.

“And yes I agree @marcmarquez93 should have been penalized for today as well. If people can’t understand that @marcmarquez93 was faster at PL and Sepang than @ValeYellow46, they’re crazy!”

More from Brookes:

“VR’s race was already penalized by having to deal with MM. Points should be left. Race Direction shouldn’t be deciding the championship.”

“Yes VR intentionally ran wide to make a statement...but MM had more options than the one he chose to take.”

“MM could’ve turned back & got up the inside but he stayed outside & continued to push on VR, then fell onto him, that dragged VR’s leg off.”

“I think we need to focus on the real crime here. Why was VR a gentleman for so long? He should have grassed him a lot earlier.”

And then the Texas Tornado re-tweeted Aprilia rider Michael Laverty @MichaelLaverty:

Lastly, here's what 15-time world champion Giacomo Agostini told the Italian newspaper, Gazzetta dello Sport, about the incident: "Valentino fell into Marquez's game that this time was smarter than him. He should have expected such a reaction: Marc had nothing to lose. They passed and re-passed each other thousands of times. You cannot fall into this trap, you cannot do this maneuver, going so wide, especially if you are Valentino Rossi. What happens in a racer's mind in those moments? I'm convinced that Valentino was angry, exhausted and frustrated, but until that turn it had been a great fight. But Valentino was surprised. He is a great professional. In his place, I also would have been very angry with Marquez, who provoked and exasperated him."

Agostini added: “If you look back, when it was about winning, Valentino has never been soft with his rivals, just think of Casey Stoner or Sete Gibernau. You cannot condemn a rider like Marquez who is putting up a show.”

Photo #1

Valentino Rossi.Yamaha MotoGP Photo

Photo #2

Marc Marquez.Repsol Honda Photo

Photo #3

Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez.Yamaha MotoGP Photo

Photo #4

Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez.Repsol Honda Photo

Photo #5

Marquez-Pedrosa-Rossi.Repsol Honda Photo

Photo #6

Petrucci-Rossi-Dovizioso.Ducati Corse Photo

Photo #7

Andrea Dovizioso.Ducati Corse Photo

Photo #8

Andrea Dovizioso.Ducati Corse Photo

Photo #9

Andrea Iannone.Ducati Corse Photo

Photo #10

Bradley Smith.Monster Energy Photo

Photo #11

Bradley Smith.Monster Energy Photo

Photo #12

Bradley Smith.Monster Energy Photo