I was going to try and hold off on an update to the whole Rossi/Marquez thing for another day or so, but Honda came out swinging with claims that they have proof Rossi kicked Marquez’s brake lever and caused the crash at Sepang. The shit just got real.
HRC (Honda Racing Corporation) Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto claimed the following in his statement:
It is clear that Valentino intentionally pushed Marc towards the outside of the track, which is out of the rules, therefore Marc had no other option other than to run wide. The data from Marc’s bike shows that even though he was picking up the bike trying to avoid contact with Valentino, his front brake lever suddenly received an impact that locked the front tyre, which is the reason for his crash. We believe that this pressure was a result of Rossi’s kick. The data acquisition from Marc’s bike is available if anybody from Dorna, the FIM or media want to check.
Previously in the week, before they had or released this information, he also released a statement on HRC’s stance on the whole incident:
Marc Marquez won the Australian GP, overtaking Jorge Lorenzo on the last lap, and therefore taking away 5 points from him in the Championship.
...We all know Marc races at 100% all the time, it’s one of the reasons we all love him and he has so many fans around the world. Marc always pushes to the maximum to achieve the best result possible. He had a great battle in his career with many riders, and nobody complained about that. In Malaysia, we know that Marc was struggling at the beginning of the race with the full tank, as has happened several times this season. Also in Sepang he made a mistake at the beginning of the race and this allowed Jorge to pass him. Then Valentino arrived and they began to fight for third place. The passes were extreme, but safe, from both riders. Two of the greatest champions we’ve seen battling together on track.
...The lap times they were doing [prior to the race] were quite fast, clearly showing that there was no intention from Marc to slow down Valentino. In addition, after Marc crashed and Valentino had an open track in front of him, his lap times were no faster than during the battle with Marc. We believe, they were both pushing to the maximum. Both wanted third place and to try and catch up with Dani and Jorge, but of course this battle opened up a gap to the front two. This is racing and when you have two talents such as Marc and Valentino you can see a wonderful battle as we saw.
Any ideas how they’ll prove it was Rossi’s foot and not Marquez’s hand that applied the brake pressure?
Yamaha released a statement of their own in response:
Yamaha would like to express its disagreement with the words that have been used to report on the incident between riders Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez. Both press releases included words that accuse Valentino Rossi of kicking Marc Marquez‘s bike that is something not proven by the investigation of the Race Direction.
We therefore reject the wording used in the said published statements that do not correspond with the findings of the Race Direction. Yamaha has no wish to enter into further discussion regarding this unfortunate affair and our desire is to conclude the 2015 MotoGP season in the best possible way.
Prior to all of this, Rossi filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), asking for a suspension of the three point penalty which will have him starting from the back of the grid this for the last race at Valencia.
Normally, cases take up to a year to be heard and ruled on, but their is a provision where they can suspend the penalty while they investigate. Doing so would allow Rossi to start in correlation to where he qualifies at the final race of the year and, if the penalty were to be upheld, it would be applied to the first race after the CAS case was ruled on.
The CAS will decide whether to suspend the penalty points on or before Friday, November 6th.
FIM announced yesterday morning that they were cancelling the regularly scheduled Thursday media press conference, and were going to be meeting with just the riders and their teams in a special private meeting.
The meeting, which will be held by Messrs Vito Ippolito, FIM President, and Carmelo Ezpeleta, Chief Executive Officer of Dorna Sports, will be held at 3:30 pm local time in an attempt to de-escalate the situation - especially before the CAS responds on the stay of Rossi’s penalty points.
I spent the latter part of last week at Jason Pridmore’s STAR motorcycle school, where Superbike Champion Josh Hayes and racers Benny Solis, Corey Alexander, and Wyatt Farris popped in as a special guests for the event. One night over dinner, the whole ordeal came up and drove the discussion late into the night.
Both agree that, while Rossi didn’t handle being frustrated well, Marquez is the one responsible for his going down. They felt like Marquez’s claims that he was trying to not overheat his tire were pure bullshit and that he was intentionally fucking with Rossi, although not because he has some crush on Lorenzo. Pridmore and Hayes went into far more detail and were far more honest than I expected them to be, and you can and should read Pridmore’s full thoughts on his blog. Because they’re honest and awesome.
Stay tuned and we’ll keep you updated Friday with the CAS’s decision as well as anything else that pops up.
Photos: Getty Images