A controversial bumping incident during lap seven of the Malaysian Grand Prix on October 25 caused Repsol Honda’s World Champ Marc Marquez to fall from third, while Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi continued on to net that spot at the finish, holding his points lead in the MotoGP World Championship.
Dani Pedrosa won the race for Honda, while Rossi’s arch-rival and teammate Jorge Lorenzo netted second.
Following the event, race control reviewed multiple-camera video footage of the incident and spoke to both racers, and then Race Director Mike Webb gave Rossi three penalty points against his licence due to his actions.
This decision gave 36-year-old Rossi a total of four of a possible seven per-season penalty points against his status, and means he will start the final event of the season at Valencia from the back of the MotoGP feature race grid. His initial point was awarded due to a qualifying incident earlier in the season at Misano involving Jorge Lorenzo.
This decision means that Rossi, although seven points ahead of teammate Lorenzo in the 2015 championship standings, is unlikely to hang on to his championship lead. Rossi has 312 points while Lorenzo trails at 305, Marquez out of contention with a total of 222 points in third spot.
“I don’t know if I have lost the championship,” stated Rossi after the race direction ruling. “This will be very difficult now. I am very disappointed in the three points. He (Marquez) won. He decided the championship and he made me lose the championship. I think that he will be very happy.”
“I don’t want to make Marquez crash and I didn’t kick him,” continued Rossi, still very aggressive while on defence. “From the helicopter shot, you see, in slow motion, it is quite clear that I go wide. I don’t want to say I do the normal corner – I want to go to him, slow down and make him loose time.”
“When I go to slow down, slow down, slow down, and I go to cut his line, and we touch. He touched me with his handlebar on my left leg and it is for that reason he crash. If you kick a MotoGP rider he don’t crash, because the bike is heavy, it has a lot of grip.”
Following the post-race review and penalty, 22-year-old double MotoGP Champ Marquez spoke out regarding his crash, saying: “I didn’t expect that he (Rossi) would take off the leg and push my handlebars and my front brake. Then I lost my front and when I was on the floor I saw him (Rossi) look behind again.
“For me, it does not matter if you are Valentino or another racer, in this type of incident you are out of control. When you are a rider you know what is going on – to take a leg off and push another rider out, it is difficult to see how you can think this on your bike.”
Meanwhile, forgotten victor Dani Pedrosa, age 30, spoke about the incident at the delayed post-race press conference, an event Rossi opted not to attend.
“I had the chance to watch this incident just now, and this is not good,” said the Repsol Honda rider. “It is not good for the championship, it is not good for Rossi, and for Marc, Jorge and me – even though I was not involved.”
“This is not a good thing, happening so late in the fight for our championship. The manoeuvres were okay, for sure Valentino wanted to have a more calm race, to try and catch Jorge for second. But in their last manoeuvre, yes you can go as wide as you want if you are on the inside (Rossi), you have the line for that corner. The guy on the inside has the preference always, so normally the guy on the outside would shut the throttle.
“But the speed was very, very slow, and Marquez understood this and close the throttle completely, waiting for Valentino to turn. Then there is the moment when I can see Valentino’s leg moving and we see Marquez crash. Unfortunately, not a good thing, and I am really disappointed about this. I started out front from the beginning and stayed in front, and I am really happy to escape out front and be unaware of all the problems behind,” stated the Malaysian victor.