Author: Oli Rushby Pics: Bonnie Lane Posted: 29 Jun 2015
This weekend’s Dutch TT in Assen saw one of the most climatic finishes to a Grand Prix race since Valentino Rossi beat Jorge Lorenzo at Catalunya in 2009.
After a race-long duel, Marc Marquez lunged up the inside of Rossi at the Gert-Timmer chicane on the final lap. Claiming not to have seen the Spaniard, Rossi closed the door and the pair collided. The Movistar Yamaha-man sat up his M1 and rode into the gravel trap, while an unsettled Marquez ran over the astroturf.
Rossi’s route saw him gain an advantage slight enough to take the win, but this would become Honda’s ammunition for protesting the result.
It would be a tricky situation for race direction; Rossi had gained an advantage by cutting the chicane but with whom did the fault of the incident lie? Should the blame lie with Marquez, Rossi’s corner cutting would have come at the fault of another rider. Should race control decide Rossi had caused the touch, the Italian could be stripped of his race win.
The decision? A racing incident. According to the officials, all camera angles show Rossi was in front at all stages of the corner and had not deviated from the ‘classic racing line’ therefore was within his rights to tip in to the turn.
Race Director Mike Webb suggested the verdict of ‘racing incident’ may not have been returned had either rider crashed out, adding that Marquez was within his rights (and would be encourage) to make a move at the last corner on the last lap and his move had no lasting consequence for anyone but himself as Rossi went on to win the race.
As would be expected, both riders continue to protest their innocence.
“My idea is that I was completely in front in the last chicane and I brake hard but I stay in the centre. I was already into the first one on the right when he came in to me. But I just see the tyre so he touched me just behind the elbow, so that means at maximum he was at the middle of my bike.
“I brake and I enter on the right for make the chicane and I was on the line. But unfortunately his touch put me on the outside and I don’t have any chance to stay on the line because he pushed me on the outside. At that moment so I don’t have any chance because I cannot stay on the chicane. The speed is quite high so I go on the gravel and the first reaction I had is to open the throttle because I don’t know if it’s deep. I didn’t want to crash on the gravel and I was lucky to control the bike. This is my version. We know his version. Maybe now we look the images. I remember like this.”
Having seen the images after talking to journalists, Rossi joked about the incident at the Goodwood Festival of Speed: “We know Marquez like the touch,” he said.
As would be expected, the Spaniard’s version of events was slightly different: “What I know is that I did the correct because I didn’t go outside the track. What I already say, I think I did the perfect last lap, perfect last corner,” said Marquez.
“I prepared like this. But when I stopped the bike completely and I had already the place there inside then we had the contact but we already know that in that chicane it’s really tight. I know that I did the correct thing.
“I don’t think nobody want to find the contact but what I did I think was the perfect last chicane because I go in and I stop the bike to be on the correct line to cross later the space for Valentino, for the second chicane. But okay. I think when we had the contact we were already really in the same position. I was not really back. I think he already saw me.”
Rossi’s win saw him extend his championship lead over third-placed Lorenzo by nine points. Marquez now sits 69 points behind the Italian.