Valentino Rossi has lashed out at his MotoGP rival Marc Marquez in the aftermath of their Argentina clash, saying the reigning champion has “destroyed our sport”
Reporting by Valentin Khorounzhiy, News Editor
Rossi and Marquez, who have 11 premier-class titles between them, have enjoyed a famously fractious relationship as a result of a series of on-track controversies—and came to blows again in Sunday's Termas de Rio Hondo race.
A late lunge from Marquez at the Turn 13 right-hander in the closing stages caused Rossi to crash on to the grass, and resulted in a 30-second penalty for the reigning champion.
Marquez collides with Rossi landing the Italian in the grass. Argentina GP, April 2018, Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo.
In the aftermath, the Italian did not mince words when discussing Marquez, as he said the Spaniard's actions were detrimental to MotoGP.
“This is a very bad situation, because he destroyed our sport, because he don't have any respect for his rivals, never,” Rossi said.
“When you go 300 kilometres per hour on the track, you have to have a respect for your rival, you have to be strong, you have to make the maximum, but like this is over.”
Rossi said Marquez—who prior to their collision was forced by race direction to cede position after a clash with Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro—had been riding aggressively all throughout the Argentina weekend.
The Spaniard takes a quick glance back before continuing on his race
He went on to accuse the Honda rider of deliberately trying to get his rivals to crash.
“If you take for example what's happened this weekend—one by one, can happen, can happen to everybody, you can make a mistake in braking, you can touch the other guy, happens, this is racing,” Rossi said.
“But from Friday morning, he make like this with Vinales, Dovizioso, he make like this with me in Saturday morning—and today in the race he go straight to four riders, because he do purposely.
“It is not a mistake, because he points the leg, between the leg and the bike, because he knows he don't crash but you crash—he hopes that you crash.
Marquez and Rossi neck and neck moments before the crash
“So if you start to play like this, you raise the level to a very dangerous point. Because if all the riders race like this, without any respect for the rivals, this is a very dangerous sport and finish in a bad way.”
Rossi and his Yamaha team went to race direction immediately following the race – and the Italian said the officials had “a big responsibility” to prevent Marquez from continuing to “behave like this”. He added: “I'm scared, I'm scared on the track when I am with Marquez.
“I'm scared today when I look, I see his name on the board, because I know that he come to me, I know already. So you have to think, to hope that you don't crash.”
Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont