Marquez and Rossi spat explodes after Argentina clash
Social media is exploding this morning after a tumultuous and controversial Argentine MotoGP.
There was drama even before lights out at Termas de Rio Hondo, with the conditions hard to judge and the race delayed as the majority of the grid went back into pitlane to switch tyres. That left Alma Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller alone on pole after the Australian didn’t need to switch, and the grid lining up a few rows back in order to not all start from pitlane.
Normally, any rider needing to return to pit-lane to change tyres would have to start from pit-lane, however race control deemed that it would be too dangerous for 23 riders to start from pit-lane, thus put them on the grid but back a few rows.
Essentially, Jack Miller had been the only one to make the right choice, and the decision of race control essentially stripped him of the real advantage he would have gained by being the only rider to have made that correct choice.
But the real controversy came from Spanish MotoGP superstar Marc Marquez. Always one to take risks and the subject of controversy, it is fair to say it went next level in Argentina.
The race had not even started before Marquez was in trouble…
When gridding up he stalled his machine and then ignored race direction’s order to return to the pits and start from pitlane, instead the defending world champion managed to get his Repsol Honda started and took up his grid position.
Marquez then clashed with Aleix Espargaro after a daredevil move that was never on and was ordered to drop a place by race direction.
Then later in the race Marquez pulled a similar move on Rossi, which ended with the Italian legend on the grass…
Race direction awarded Marquez a 30-second penalty for the incident. Pit-lane commentator Simon Crafar had even suggested that Marquez should have been immediately black flagged.
After the race Marquez headed to the Yamaha garage, presumably to apologise, but he was barred entry by Rossi’s right-hand man, Uccio Salucci.
Rossi made some comments to the media which ended with the loose translation of the following.
Valentino Rossi Quote
“He comes to apologize in front of the cameras, but he is not sincere. I hope he stays away from me and does not look me in the face anymore, because when he comes to apologize, he’s fucked in the ass.”
In the official Yamaha statement issued after the race Rossi was also extremely critical of his Spanish arch-nemesis.
Valentino Rossi Statement
“I’m OK, but this is a very bad situation. If you take what happened this weekend as an example, one incident can happen to anybody, you can make a mistake in braking, you can touch the other guy. It can happen, it’s racing. But from Friday morning on, Marquez did this to Viñales, to Dovizioso, to me, and on Saturday morning, and today he went straight through four riders. If you start to race like this, you raise the level to a very dangerous point. If all the riders race like this, this will become a very dangerous sport and it will finish in a bad way. It’s a very dangerous situation and I hope that what I said to Race Director Mike Webb makes them take more responsibility, they have to do something. I’m scared on the track when I’m with Marquez. I was scared today when I saw his name on the board. I’m not Race Direction – they will decide – but like this he is destroying our sport, because when you do 300 km an hour on the track, you have to have respect for your rivals.”
Marc Marquez “We all remember how Rossi was when he was 25”
“Rossi’s accusation – we all remember what it was like at age 25. I did not target anyone. The track conditions at that point were critical, I took a line that was wet, closed the front and that happened. I immediately apologised. However, the big mistake was with Aleix Espargarò, I’ve never done anything to knock down a rival, contact with Rossi was there, but like for example there was someone else. difficult for me, already at the start the engine turned off and we still do not know why, I took the bike and here was the mess: I asked what I had to do to the Commissioners, one of them waved , the other went away and I realized I had to start again where I was, I got the first ride through and I did not understand it.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Team Director
“It was a dramatic day, in the sense that a lot of things happened that were beyond the team’s and our riders’ control, but they played a crucial role in the outcome of today’s race. The re-organised starting grid was something never seen in Grand Prix racing before. Despite the confusion and the chaos of the re-start, Maverick and Valentino both kept their focus. Valentino was riding in sixth place, behind Maverick when his race was compromised by Marquez. Whilst we respect Race Direction’s decision to impose a 30s-penalty on Marquez, we feel his dangerous riding style should be further discouraged for safety reasons and for the sake of the sport. Maverick moved back up to fifth place in the race results, but a lot of damage has been done, considering that Valentino misses out on quite a chunk of championship points. It’s a disappointing end to the race weekend for him, but the entire team will pull together to make up for today’s loss at the next GP in Austin, where we hope to see fair racing only.”
Race winner Cal Crutchlow ignored by media after the race
Another unhappy camper after the race was the race winner Cal Crutchlow.
The Brit’s elation at his hard fought victory in the trying conditions was completely overshadowed by the Marquez v Rossi incident, and the baying media pack was chasing that story rather than paying the race winner the respect he deserved.
With his victory Crutchlow celebrated Honda’s 750th motorcycle grand prix victory.
2018 MotoGP Round Two Argentina Race Results
- Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda CASTROL 40’36.342
2. Johann ZARCO Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +0.251
3. Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +2.501
4. Jack MILLER Alma Pramac Racing +4.390
5. Maverick VIÑALES Movistar Yamaha MotoGP +14.941
6. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team +22.533
7. Tito RABAT Reale Avintia Racing +23.026
8. Andrea IANNONE Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +23.921
9. Hafizh SYAHRIN Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +24.311
10. Danilo PETRUCCI Alma Pramac Racing +26.003
11. Pol ESPARGARO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +31.022
12. Scott REDDING Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +31.891
13. Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU +32.452
14. Franco MORBIDELLI EG 0,0 Marc VDS +42.061
15. Jorge LORENZO Ducati Team +42.274
16. Alvaro BAUTISTA Angel Nieto Team +42.625
17. Thomas LUTHI EG 0,0 Marc VDS +43.350
18. Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team +43.860
19. Valentino ROSSI Movistar Yamaha MotoGP +52.082
20. Karel ABRAHAM Angel Nieto Team +1’03.944
21. Xavier SIMEON Reale Avintia Racing +1’10.144
Bradley SMITH Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
Dani PEDROSA Repsol Honda Team
MotoGP World Championship Points Standings
- Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda GBR 38
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 35
3 Johann ZARCO Yamaha FRA 28
4 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha SPA 21
5 Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 20
6 Jack MILLER Ducati AUS 19
7 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati ITA 17
8 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 16
9 Alex RINS Suzuki SPA 16
10 Andrea IANNONE Suzuki ITA 15
11 Tito RABAT Ducati SPA 14
12 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 9
13 Hafizh SYAHRIN Yamaha MAL 9
14 Franco MORBIDELLI Honda ITA 6
15 Pol ESPARGARO KTM SPA 5
16 Scott REDDING Aprilia GBR 4
17 Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati SPA 3
18 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda JPN 3
19 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati CZE 1
20 Jorge LORENZO Ducati SPA 1