The Portuguese GP proved to be a thinking man’s race, but the pre-race press conference showed that some riders can switch their brains off from time to time. With Marco Simoncelli making strong impressions during the Free Practice sessions at Estoril, and Jorge Lorenzo on sitting on the pole, tempers flew a bit as the Spaniard and Italian minced words over riding styles and reputations.
Starting with a prompt as to whether Simoncelli had read some disparaging remarks made by Jorge Lorenzo in the media, the two riders had a heated exchange about past incidents of questionable riding conduct, while a bemused Pedrosa had to remain seated next to them during the handbag tussle. From there, the following transcript ensued. Read it after the jump.
Marco Simoncelli: “Yes, I read something he said about my riding style but I don’t know, for me he said some wrong things because he said that last year in Valencia I touched him and he almost crashed, but it was not true because I was in front and he tried to pass me and made a mistake. He touched me and his tyre was on my leathers, from the leg to the shoulder, so for me it’s not a correct example. Another thing is that some years ago he was disqualified by Race Direction for his aggressive riding style, so for me he said a wrong thing.”
Jorge Lorenzo: “For my part I think that yesterday I said the right words. For me it’s not a problem if it doesn’t happen, we’ll see what happens in the future.”
Simoncelli: “Yes, but you gave a wrong example, for me, from Valencia.”
Lorenzo: “I think you have touched with a lot of riders, no?”
Simoncelli: “Yes, but your example was wrong, for me.”
Lorenzo: “How many races have I not crashed in? I didn’t touch anybody.”
Simoncelli: “I said that your example was wrong, sorry!”
Lorenzo: “This is your opinion! But I think a lot of people here in the paddock, a lot of riders, have the same opinion as me.”
Simoncelli: “Try to ask.”
Lorenzo: “Ask (Andrea) Dovizioso, for example. Ask (Hiroshi) Aoyama, for example.”
Simoncelli: “Ask Dovizioso in 2005!!”
Lorenzo: “It doesn’t matter. If nothing happens in the future, it’s not a problem for me. But if something happens with you in the future, it will be a problem.”
Simoncelli: “Okay. I will be arrested!”
Lorenzo: “This question, everybody is laughing, but it’s not funny because we are playing with our lives. We are riding at 300km/h and we are on bikes which are very powerful and very heavy. It’s not minibikes. It’s a dangerous sport and you have to think about what you are doing. It’s okay, I am ready to fight with all the riders, but I don’t like to fight not clean. It’s the way. I injured myself a lot of times, I made (Alex) De Angelis crash in Japan which was my fault, my mistake, so from that moment I’ve always tried to ride clean. I can make a mistake because I am human but normally when I am riding I think twice about things. I am not impulsive because it’s one thing to play with your health, and another thing to play with the other riders’ health.”