Ducati’s Valentino Rossi admitted the crash with Casey Stoner on Lap 8 was his fault, but offered the Aussie a backhanded compliment afterwards.
Valentino Rossi admitted he made a massive mistake after the Italian took out Casey Stoner during a fight for victory in yesterday’s captivating Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez. The nine-time world champion had to apologize to Stoner and his factory Honda crew after a mistake under braking at the first corner on Lap 8 saw both crash out in wet conditions. Rossi was able to recover from his blunder and produce a rousing fight back to finish fifth. But Stoner, who had dominated the opening race in Qatar last month, was unable to restart the 27-lap encounter and was furious that he didn’t get more assistance from trackside marshals to help get his Honda RC212V fired-up.
Rossi immediately apologized to Stoner in the Repsol Honda box, though TV cameras clearly picked up the 2007 world champion saying: “Your ambition outweighs your talent” in an uncomfortable exchange.
For his part in the drama, Rossi apologized unreservedly, accepting he’d attacked Stoner too soon as he immediately found a good wet setting with the Ducati GP11.
“I had a great chance to get my first win for Ducati,” Rossi said. “I felt good, both with the bike and my shoulder, because I could brake where I wanted to rather than where I’m forced to in the dry, since I still don’t have the necessary strength. The bike is very fast in the wet. I was advancing really well, and I’m sorry to have made that mistake and thrown away such an opportunity. While braking for the first corner, I entered a bit long, and although I tried to stay to the inside, I lost the front and couldn’t stay up. I’m sorry, because I also took out Stoner, and I certainly didn’t want to do that. I apologized to him, and I’m truly sorry; it was a mistake. The brake was damaged a little bit but the bigger problem at the end was the front tire was completely finished on the right, so this tire is too soft for me or more or less for everybody. A lot of people were in big trouble. It is better we have just one wet tire for everybody but we need a minimum of two, one soft and one hard like the dry tires, so we hope to speak to Bridgestone and bring two choices for the wet, too. In the wet the bike is better and I had good grip and it was very stable. It was possible to go fast and I discovered this from the warm-up. We know the Ducati is competitive in the wet and the bike is ok, but
Honda’s Casey Stoner (#27) was frustrated with track marshals at Jerez who showed favoritism to Rossi after their crash.
unfortunately in the dry we still need to improve and to fix our problems.”
Stoner was undeniably livid with Rossi, but he was also angered at the lack of help he received from the marshals.
“It wasn’t the best day for me and I’m very disappointed with this result because I believe I would have been there at the end,” Stoner said. “Many people crashed and this is why I was being quiet. The bike felt good for the first two laps but then the tires started to move a bit, so I backed off the pace and changed the engine mapping to be a bit smoother to try and save the tires as much as I could because I watched Moto2 and 125s and they looked to be mixed conditions and I wanted to make sure that if it rained again I had some tire left. Then Valentino tried to come by and wasn’t able to make the corner and that was it, race over. I heard Valentino arriving and I wasn’t worried about anyone passing me at that point in the race so I gave him plenty of room. It was a racing incident and there’s not much we can do. What is more frustrating is the reaction of the marshals and their assistance for Valentino and not for me, it was unbelievable.”
Jorge Lorenzo spoke of his disappointment at how marshals handled the aftermath of Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner’s collision during yesterday’s thrilling MotoGP race in Jerez. The Spaniard triumphed in front of a passionate but rain-soaked home crowd of nearly 125,000 fans who were treated to an unforgettable
spectacle in the 27-lap clash. Reigning world champion Lorenzo won in the wet for the first time in his career to move to the top of the championship after two races. But the factory Yamaha rider was frustrated at the apparent favouritism shown toward Rossi after the Ducati star wiped out Stoner on Lap 8. Marshals could clearly be seen giving Rossi more assistance to re-join the race, while Stoner was largely overlooked as he tried to get his factory Honda RC212V running again.
“There is no way that Valentino wanted to crash,” Lorenzo said. “It can happen to anybody, it could happen to me also. Casey didn’t do anything bad for this crash and he was riding very well and he didn’t deserve this. Somebody told me the marshals helped Valentino and not Casey and this for sure I don’t like. I would like that these things are done impartially and not like this. But in this moment the marshals are also nervous and it is difficult to react in the perfect way sometimes.”
Lorenzo was jubilant to claim a second successive win in Jerez to move nine points clear of Pedrosa.
“The conditions were very tough and I started with the intention of staying with Casey and I managed to do that,” said Lorenzo. “I was very concentrated on saving the tire and I felt the performance of the tire drop a lot and (Marco) Simoncelli and Rossi came. Then they pulled away so from there it was difficult to keep the concentration and try more. I was lucky with the crashes in front of me and it was a very difficult and tough race because every lap the tires were worse and worse, and you had to try not to push or brake too hard. I won here in Jerez and I never expected this, but the championship is only at the start, so we can’t get carried away.”