Yamaha Factory rider Jorge Lorenzo has issued a strong statement denying he has made a ‘pact’ with Marc Marquez as the furore following the Malaysian MotoGP round refuses to die.
In the pre-race press conference at Sepang, championship leader Valentino Rossi had accused Repsol Honda’s Marquez of actively favouring Lorenzo for the premier class title, claiming the outgoing world champion had ‘helped’ his Movistar Yamaha team-mate at Phillip Island in Australia by significantly hampering and interfering with Rossi’s own race pace.
If Rossi had hoped the ploy would subdue Marquez it backfired, spectacularly, with the Spaniard pushing Rossi hard – so hard that Marquez lowsided after contact was made between the warring pair on lap Seven, with Rossi admitting he had deliberately ran the Honda to the edge of the track in a bid to stop him from taking valuable points from him.
Rossi received three Penalty Points for ‘irresponsible riding’ and will start the final race at Valencia in Spain from the back of the grid after accumulating four in total.
BT Sport’s Neil Hodgon reported live from Malaysia that a ‘shouting and screaming” Lorenzo was present in a Race Direction meeting with Marquez and Rossi, although that later turned out to be untrue.
And now Lorenzo has stunned the MotoGP world by officially denying he has made a pact with Marquez after Italian newspaper La Repubblica claim Lorenzo and Marquez had formed an alliance ahead of the final race at Valencia to help deliver the world title at Rossi’s expense.
Lorenzo’s statement sates: “From the staff team Jorge Lorenzo, we officially deny categorically everything that has been published in the last hours of a possible meeting or Jorge Lorenzo pact with Marc Marquez – a ridiculous and unfounded information published yesterday [Wednesday] by La Repubblica and subsequently chimed other Italian media,” said the statement.
“Not wanting to feed more this unpleasant situation for the pilot, [we] just want to express unease about such rumours, which have not been verified before going public. We reiterate once again that all this information is absolutely false. ”
The move comes a day after Respol Honda threw its weight into the debate with a strongly worded statement condoning Rossi’s actions. The full statement is as follows:
“Dani Pedrosa achieved a great victory today in the Malaysian Grand Prix – a win that was unfortunately overshadowed by the unacceptable and unsportsmanlike conduct of Valentino Rossi against Repsol Honda Team rider, Marc Marquez.
“On the seventh lap of the race, with Marquez and Rossi immersed in a battle for third place that involved several overtaking moves between the two, the Italian – in an absolutely intentional action – dealt an unsportsmanlike kick to the Repsol Honda rider that knocked him to the ground.
“Although Marquez was fortunately able to escape unharmed from the attack, for Repsol the conduct of Rossi is absolutely unacceptable because it endangered – in a premeditated and unsportsmanlike manner – the safety of the Repsol Honda team rider. Repsol consider this an unsportsmanlike act incompatible with the values of sport and competition.
“Repsol are deeply saddened that situations like that which occurred today in Sepang exist, especially as the company feel proud of sporting values: Companionship, competitive spirit and commitment from riders. Without these values, it would not make sense for Repsol to participate in the sport as a sponsor.
“Repsol also call for a clear and strong regulation in the interest of the safety and physical integrity of the riders, which punishes behaviour like that seen today clearly and decisively.”
The explosive climax of the 2015 MotoGP campaign takes place in Valencia next weekend.