2017 Valencia GP – “Márquez says yes, he did nothing in 2015. I’ll say the same thing,” grinned Valentino Rossi when he was asked if he would interfere in the title fight at the final. The ghosts of the past can never be rid of. Sometimes they are lying dormant in hiding places, and one is inclined to believe they no longer exist. But often they come back to light in an unexpected moment.
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The crucial phase of the 2015 MotoGP season
Let’s dazzle back into the crucial phase of the 2015 MotoGP season. Two years ago, Valentino Rossi smelled a conspiracy, a “biscotto.” On the day before the first Malaysia GP training session, he told the journalists that Lorenzo and Márquez had shared a common cause in Australia the previous Sunday that the Honda star had not even fought off the overtaking maneuver of Rossi’s former teammate Lorenzo. And thus influencing the world championship action. The rest is known.
Marc Márquez asserted his innocence, and three days later he answered on the racetrack. In the race, there was the famous “Sepang Clash.” Marc Márquez didn’t care about his chances of winning he let his teammate Dani Pedrosa drive away in the race but prevented Rossi from pursuing Lorenzo by overtaking him. Rossi lost his patience and his nerves; the Italian Rossi lost his composure and nerves, he pushed Márquez in a right turn so far to the edge of the track until he slipped and fell in the dirt. Pedrosa won ahead of Lorenzo and Rossi, but Rossi got a penalty for irresponsible driving. He was even accused of having kicked Márquez to the ground, but the filming of a helicopter perspective proved nothing. The accusation was not sustained.
Because of these four penalty points (one of which Rossi had scored in Misano when he destroyed Lorenzo a quick lap), he had to start from the last position at the final in Valencia; he was only fourth – and Lorenzo with 330 to 225 points world champion. Lorenzo crossed his thumbs on the podium in Sepang 2015, a gesture directed at his opponent and teammate Rossi. A derailment. And then Lorenzo demanded that Rossi is disqualified after third place because the four penalty points were a too lenient penalty. They meant the end of Rossi’s title dreams. With this action, Lorenzo blocked the future of Yamaha.Four months later, his defiant transfer to Ducati was a fact.
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“He’s always said he didn’t do anything. So I’m not going to do anything”
Following last Sunday’s Sepang GP last Sunday, whether Valentino Rossi would now take revenge at this year’s World Cup finals in 2017 Valencia GP on 12 November was discussed. A Spanish journalist scented disaster for the Valencia-GP after Ducati had already prevented Lorenzo’s first victory at the Desmosedici in Malaysia by team order to keep the World Cup decision open. But Rossi has already buried the hatchet against Marc Márquez. In 2016, you shake hands; you respect yourself again. Valentino could not resist a soft touch of cynicism. “What did Márquez do in Sepang two years ago? What about Phillip Island? Explain that to me! He’s always said he didn’t do anything. So I’m not going to do anything,” Rossi stated on Sunday with a broad grin. “Joking aside. I’m going to race my race, as I have always done in my career,” Rossi added.
For Rossi, the Sepang episode of 2015 is a thing of the past. He is looking to the future, he is only fourth in the World Championship and has to make his motorcycle competitive for 2018. That is his primary objective. He’s not going to interfere seriously in the title fight. “If Andrea Dovizioso (he is 21 points behind Márquez) does not win, the title is decided in favor of Márquez anyway. And in a Dovi victory, he’ll only need to finish eleventh. In Valencia, too, we can see six or seven podium finishes. And I still have to improve,” Rossi said, who didn’t make it past 7th place in Malaysia in the rain.
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The Movistar Yamaha factory driver and 115 times GP winner is hoping for a dry race in 2017 Valencia GP. “In the dry FP3 on Saturday I felt good in Sepang on the M1. I also made a good round of qualifying. But the M1 hasn’t changed since Silverstone. We have only done fine-tuning since then. And now we need to think very carefully about what the right decisions should look like when developing for 2018.”