Categories: Racing
November 2, 2015
| On 5 years ago

The Battle of Sepang Continues

Okay, well, it just keeps getting more fun. Over the weekend, two journalists from the Italian satirical TV show Le Iene (The Hyenas) attempted to present defending MotoGP Champ Marc Marquez with a “Cup of Sh*t” award outside his home in Spain, for his part in Valentino Rossi being penalized at last weekend’s Sepang MotoGP. It didn’t go well. According to the show’s FB page, “We arrived near the home of the parents of the rider where we met Marc Marquez, his father, his brother and their friend. When we tried to deliver our cup we were attacked and a scuffle broke the camera and removed the video cards. Probably they wanted a bigger cup.”

The Hyenas report they are currently recovering in hospital, and Marquez’s people put this out: “Yesterday there were some unfortunate events in Cervera. A group of people appeared at the home of [Marc Marquez] and uttered a series of insults, performed certain humiliating and ridiculous actions toward the rider himself and even pushing and assaulting [his] closest relatives. Given the seriousness of the action, such acts have been reported and the normal course of criminal proceedings continue against such persons.


In other developments, Honda Racing Corp delivered an official canned interview version of what transpired at Sepang, from which we’ll pluck the most controversial contention by

HRC Executive Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto:

Do you believe Valentino kicked Marc’s bike?

“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.”

This is the crux of the controversy. Those on Rossi’s side disagree that Marquez had no option but to run into Rossi; in fact they contend he had several options, but chose to intentionally run into Rossi (for at least the third time this season). It also would appear to us that there was no intentional kick by Rossi, but that his left foot did come off the footpeg after, and as a result of contact with Marquez.

What our eyeballs seem to show us doesn’t square at all with Marquez’ statement either, who said in the post-race inquisition that he was just chilling along beside Rossi when the Doctor’s leg came out and kicked him, knocking him down.

Marc Marquez: “Yeah of course you know for me it is easy to explain what happened because on the TV you can see clear. You can see in the video from many points, the helicopter, from in front. I was inside and of course we were overtaking for some laps but I felt I was able to be faster and to catch the front guys. But yeah, on that corner, corner 14, Valentino passed me. I heard the bike then I pick it up, but then I saw that he was completely straight and looking at me and stopping a lot. I was just waiting because there was nothing to do in that point and then I saw that with his leg he pushed my arm and my front brake and then I lock the front wheel and I crash.”

I already expressed my opinion in last week’s Whatever, which you should Share even if you don’t have time to read it (and add a Comment that I deserve a raise). If you’d rather read an actual expert’s opinion, we like the no punches approach AMA Champ Jason Pridmore pulls on his Star Motorcycle School blog.

Just last night, Movistar Yamaha fired back with this release:

We refer to the press release issued by Repsol Media Service on Sunday 25th October 2015, titled “Pedrosa wins and Marquez crashes after unsportsmanlike kick from Rossi”, as well as the press release issued by Honda Racing Corporation on Monday 2nd November, titled “Q&A with Shuhei Nakamoto, HRC Executive Vice President”.

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.

We go to Valencia with the clear intention of trying our best to win what we hope will be a memorable final race with all riders and teams competing in an exemplary sportsmanlike manner befitting the top category of motorcycle racing.

World War One actually started under flimsier Eurosquabble circumstances, and now the rumors have already begun appearing that Lorenzo might not be welcome in the Yamaha camp next year after his defamatory remarks regarding his teammate following the Sepang incident.

The next bit of excitement comes up Friday, when the CAS (Court of Arbitration in Sport) will rule on Rossi’s appeal to overturn the FIM decision that has him starting from the back row at the final GP of the year at Valencia, this Sunday, November 8. A back row start for Rossi practically hands the championship to Lorenzo; a postponement (or dismissal) of Rossi’s penance until next season means we’re looking at a ding-dong battle for the ages which very well could mean the end for excitable commentator Nick Harris.

In the meantime, the usual Thursday pre-MotoGP press conference has been cancelled; the riders have instead all been called into the principal’s office (FIM President Vito Ippolito and Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta) for no doubt what will be a severe tongue-lashing!

Next stop Valencia.