Controversy erupted at the Malaysian GP when Valentino Rossi was accused of deliberately kicking Honda-mounted rival Marc Marquez off his bike in a bitter continuation of a personal vendetta.
He had begun on the eve of practice.
The alleged kick came after the pair had been fiercely engaged, changing place countless times, with a frustrated Rossi gesturing angrily to underline the appearance of deliberate delaying tactics by Marquez.
On lap seven of 20, as they entered a fast right-hander, Rossi on the inside slowed markedly, pushing Marquez to the outside of the track.
There was contact, and Marquez crashed out of a sixth race this year.
Race Direction waited until after the race to review the incident, and punished Rossi with three penalty points. The end result is that he will start the final GP at Valencia from the back row of the grid.
Ironically, this was his 329th GP start, putting him one ahead of the previous record holder Loris Capirossi.
Afterwards, Marquez denied he had deliberately slowed Rossi, simply battling for position, and he was crystal clear in his accusation.
He’d been surprised when Rossi had turned twice to look at him, but “I did not expect him to take off his leg and push my handlebar and front brake.
“For me it doesn’t matter if you are Valentino or another rider – with this type of action it shows you are out of control. It could be because of the title pressure on Rossi,” he said, but he pledged that this personal battle “can’t go on any further”.
Rossi firmly denied that he had kicked out or even deliberately caused the crash, pronouncing himself “very disappointed” with the penalty points, which he officially protested.
“I did not kick him,” he said. He looked at the images with Race Direction, and said the helicopter view gave the lie to the side-on appearance of a kick.
“From the helicopter, it is quite clear that I go wide. I don’t want to say I did a normal corner – I wanted to go to him, slow down, and make him lose time. It is the only thing I could do, because in every braking he overtook me, slowed a lot in the corners, and didn’t open the throttle in the straights.
“When I slow down, slow down, slow down and I go to cut his line, we touch. He touched me with the handlebar on my left leg, and it is for that reason he crashed.
“You can see frame-by-frame that when I lose the foot on the footpeg Marquez is already down, he has already crashed.”
Results: MotoGP, Sepang, Sunday, October 25, 2015
|1||25||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||163.7||40’37.691|
|2||20||99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||163.4||+3.612|
|3||16||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||162.8||+13.724|
|4||13||38||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||162.1||+23.995|
|5||11||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||LCR Honda||Honda||161.8||+28.721|
|6||10||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Octo Pramac Racing||Ducati||161.3||+36.372|
|7||9||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||161.1||+39.290|
|8||8||25||Maverick VIÑALES||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||161.1||+39.436|
|9||7||44||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||160.9||+42.462|
|10||6||6||Stefan BRADL||GER||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||160.7||+44.601|
|11||5||45||Scott REDDING||GBR||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Suzuki||160.5||+47.690|
|12||4||68||Yonny HERNANDEZ||COL||Octo Pramac Racing||Ducati||160.2||+52.112|
|13||3||8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Avintia Racing||Ducati||160.2||+52.360|
|14||2||24||Toni ELIAS||SPA||Forward Racing||Yamaha Forward||160.1||+53.619|
|15||1||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||160.1||+53.631|
|16||69||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Aspar MotoGP Team||Honda||159.6||+1’01.431|
|17||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||LCR Honda||Honda||159.6||+1’02.828|
|18||63||Mike DI MEGLIO||FRA||Avintia Racing||Ducati||159.4||+1’05.075|
|19||50||Eugene LAVERTY||IRL||Aspar MotoGP Team||Honda||159.1||+1’09.877|
|20||13||Anthony WEST||AUS||AB Motoracing||Honda||158.2||+1’24.749|
|4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||162.1||10 Laps|
|93||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||156.1||13 Laps|
|76||Loris BAZ||FRA||Forward Racing||Yamaha Forward||132.6||18 Laps|
|29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||155.6||19 Laps|
|Not Finished 1st lap|
|55||Damian CUDLIN||AUS||E-Motion IodaRacing Team||ART||0 Lap|