Marc Marquez has refuted claims by arch-rival Valentino Rossi saying that he ran into the 9-time champion on purpose. Marquez and Rossi were once again involved in an on-track incident, one of many in an ongoing feud, which started at the same GP three years ago.
Marquez went to pass the veteran Italian on the entrance to turn 13 from a long way back, eventually ramming into Rossi, forcing both of them out to the edge of the track, with Rossi crashing on wet grass. Ironically, despite the penalty, Marquez finished 18th, one place ahead of Valentino Rossi, who remounted and crossed the line in 19th – his lowest finishing position in his entire career.
“It was a tricky race, in very tough conditions, with several drawbacks. Just before the start I had an issue with the engine, which stopped. We’ll look into it later. Anyway, I put my hands up but nobody was there,” said Marquez, in a room full of eagerly awaiting journalists following his spat with Rossi.
“I was able to restart the bike and then I looked for some input from the marshals, as I wasn’t sure if, with the bike running again, I should go to my place on the grid or back to the pits. One marshal raised his hands, and a second one gave the thumbs up, which I interpreted to mean I could stay. When I saw the penalty message on the dashboard, I didn’t understand why, but I of course complied.
“Then I obviously tried push to recover and unfortunately I made some mistakes, the biggest one I believe being with Aleix. I approached faster than him and I didn’t realise it. I tried my best to avoid contact but unfortunately I wasn’t able. I saw the penalty and, to be safe, gave up two positions, not just one, before starting to push again.
“With Valentino it was different, as it was a consequence of the track conditions. I touched a wet patch, locked the front, and released the brakes. I tried to turn, again making my best effort to avoid contact. When he crashed I immediately apologised. It was a racing incident as happened earlier with Zarco and Dani, and then with Petrucci and Aleix.
“It was a tricky Sunday. Of course today I made some mistakes, which I recognise. Other mistakes were made by Race Direction on the grid, and others were due to the difficult conditions, but one thing I know for sure: never in my career have I intentionally hit another rider.”
With Marquez scoring no points in the Argentine GP, he is now languishing in 5th in the championship, although the next round is at COTA, a track at which he has never been defeated on before.
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