Valentino Rossi claimed he was the victim of a Spanish conspiracy on Sunday after his Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo secured his third MotoGP world championship in Valencia.
The Spaniard began seven points behind Rossi who had to start at the back of the grid as a penalty for clashing with Spain’s Marc Marquez in the previous race.
With Lorenzo enjoying the luxury of starting in pole position Rossi’s hopes of winning an eighth title looked slim, but the Italian fought back to fourth at the halfway stage.
His hopes rested on Honda’s Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa passing their fellow Spaniard, but in the end they finished second and third leaving Rossi angrily accusing them of helping their compatriot by not racing to win.
“I did what I could but it was a strange situation having Márquez as the bodyguard of Lorenzo. It is embarrassing for the sport,” said Rossi. “Hopefully the sport’s authorities will be able to sort it out. It is an ugly end to what has been an attractive championship. It has not been a true championship and this should not happen in sport.”
Rossi said Lorenzo deserved the title but could not understand why Honda would want to see a Yamaha rider win. Márquez said it was ‘a lack of respect’ to suggest he had not tried to win.
“I always give everything and I know there will be people that will say that I have been second because I wanted Lorenzo to win,” he said.
Lorenzo, who ended the season five points clear of Rossi, suggested it was to be expected that his compatriots would rather see him win.
He commented: “The fact they knew what I was going for and that they are Spanish has helped me and in another race they may have tried everything to overtake.
“Dani did well because he could have tried a crazy overtake. We are Spanish and the title remains in Spain. If it had been in Italy and with two Italians behind Rossi, then it would have been the same.”
The race had been shrouded in controversy since Malaysia, where Rossi allegedly kicked Márquez off his bike.
Rossi accused his rival of trying to sabotage his title hopes, but a bid to persuade the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to overturn the penalty failed, although the appeal against the punishment is still in process.
The Prime Ministers and media of both countries waded into the row, while Márquez and his family filed legal papers after allegedly being assaulted by Italian journalists.
The race itself was much calmer with Lorenzo leading throughout, while Rossi climbed as far as he could and then waited to see what happened with the top three too far ahead to catch. The Italian finished 19.7 seconds adrift of Lorenzo, with just 0.2 seconds between the new champion and Márquez.
- Five games to watch during the international break
- Europa League quarter-final draw: Man Utd face Sevilla, Juventus take on Sporting
- Champions League quarter-final draw: Man City take on Bayern, Chelsea drawn with Real Madrid
- Premier League games to watch this week
- Tottenham Hotspur vs AC Milan Preview – Prediction & how to watch
- The Relationship Between UK Sports Teams and Gambling Companies
- FA Cup quarter-final draw: Man City face Burnley, Man United take on Fulham
- Chelsea confirm Thiago Silva suffered knee ligament damage during Tottenham game
- Elite League: Scottish clubs face sustainability conundrum
- Everton vs Aston Villa Preview – revival on the cards?