MotoGP: Rossi makes bizarre claim about Marquez after Australian GP
In a bizarre accusation that may come back to haunt him, Valentino Rossi claims that Repsol Honda star Marc Marquez is the "new supporter" of Jorge Lorenzo in the battle for the MotoGP world championship.
Rossi leads Lorenzo by just 11 points in an all Yamaha title fight with two races remaining, including Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
Rossi made his shocking claim after watching replays of last Sunday’s breathtaking Australian GP, in which Lorenzo was second and Rossi fourth.
Marquez won with a thrilling last lap pass, just three corners from the finish, squeezing past Lorenzo and actually robbing his fellow Spaniard of five points in the contest against Rossi.
Only 11 points separate MotoGP championship contenders after #TheIslandBattle. Catch the #MalaysianGP LIVE Saturday night on #FS1.
Posted by SPEED on Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Just over one second covered Marquez, Lorenzo, Andrea Iannone (third) and Rossi after a memorable race that featured 52 overtakes.
Rossi claims that Marquez was "playing" with the group and tried to force Lorenzo’s pace out front to help him gain an uncatchable lead.
Marquez laughed off Rossi’s suggestion, made in a smiling but accusing tone.
"Of course not, I did my race, and in fact if I want to help Lorenzo, I wouldn’t pass him on the last lap and push to the limit and take the risk," Marquez said. "I don’t know why he said that."
Rossi has two races to defend the championship, and admits the pressure is mounting as he recounted his view of Marquez’s tactics in Australia.
"If we have another race like Phillip Island we have to speak with him, with Marquez," Rossi said.
"Because during that race it was more difficult to understand, but afterwards when I saw the race (on TV) it was very clear that he (Marquez) played with us very much.
"Mainly, I think that 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 that from Phillip Island it is very clear that Jorge has a new supporter.
"And that is Marc."
Lorenzo was bemused by Rossi’s claims, and was at his sarcastic best when asked if Marquez helped him in Australia.
"Yeah, mainly on the last lap," Lorenzo said.
For his part, Marquez has been intrigued by his role as Honda’s spearhead and the Yamaha fight club of Rossi and Lorenzo.
Marquez can change the balance of points in a race, either by winning, or finishing between the Yamaha riders, which forces one of them off the podium.
While the Rossi-Marquez relationship has decidedly cooled since their last lap bump in the Dutch TT, one thing is clear — Marquez knows he cannot be the world champion, but he has the clear desire for the consolation prize — to win the most races this season.
Marquez has five wins so far and two more — in Malaysia and Valencia — will give him seven victories; one more than Lorenzo (6) and Rossi (4).
The flying Honda ace is capable of doing it; in which case Rossi needs to worry about one thing — just racing and beating Lorenzo for the title.