MotoGP: Reactions to the Last-Corner Incident at Jerez

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After the final corner incident between Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo, the media spent the afternoon canvassing opinion from anyone they could find in the paddock, to ask how they felt about the incident.

Below is a selection of the responses, split between riders and team staff. Cal Crutchlow, Bradley Smith and Valentino Rossi represent rider opinion, while Herve Poncharal, Livio Suppo and Wilco Zeelenberg speak for the teams.

Cal Crutchlow, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider

“At the end of the day, it’s racing. I don’t think Marquez did anything wrong. If Jorge had the opportunity, he’d do exactly the same. Marquez never rode into the side of him meaning to hit him. He ran a little bit deep, and Jorge was there, and that’s it. You think Jorge has never run a little deep and ran into somebody? You think he won’t for the rest of his career? At some point in racing it’s going to happen. But if it happened to me, I’d probably be pissed off for half the slowdown lap, but then you’ve got to think about it in the sense of, I could have done it to somebody.”

You don’t think Marquez is a dangerous rider?

“Not in any way, shape or form. No. He’s a hard rider, there’s a difference.”

“If you’ve got a load of bikes going round on a track at the same time, something’s going to happen. As long as it doesn’t happen in practice and qualifying, because there’s no need for it then. But in the race, of course, you’re battling. It’s weird to race by giving each other positions and saying you’re happy with third, because you’re not happy with third.”

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing rider

“I saw the last corner just one time, so I don’t know exactly. But it looks like, is the last corner on the last lap. Marquez tries very hard, it looks like Jorge leaves space on the inside, Marc tried to go in, they touch, and you know it’s normal that Jorge is upset, especially now after the race, but this is racing. It’s the last lap, it’s the last corner, and sometimes the guy behind try very hard, and it finish like this.”

Bradley Smith, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider

“Racing incident. If you’re going to leave the door open like that and invite someone through, at the end of the day, if you’ve come from 125 and Moto2, you learn that if a gap’s shown to you like that, you take it. I mean we go for tiny gaps, so when it’s that wide, you don’t hesitate.”

“I don’t think Moto2 is necessarily breeding a more aggressive type of rider, I think let’s be honest, Jorge has been a world champion for a number of years from 250s, he’s not had to race. When he catches someone, he passes them, he leaves them. Or he rides around on his own and disappears into the distance. You lose that last little bit of aggressiveness. Let’s be honest, his last serious race, you’re probably looking at 2005, Motegi? Where like it was tooth and nail, back and forth with De Angelis and Pedrosa and those boys. So that’s what we’re probably looking at. But at the end of the day, Marquez was looking a little bit lairy all race, was nearly in the back of him a few times.”

“At the end of the day, if you don’t want someone to pass, you cover you’re inside line. That’s like the first rule of last corner. You’re the one that takes the inside, if he wants to go round the outside, that’s up to him.”

Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha Factory Racing team manager, and team manager to Jorge Lorenzo

“It was a hard move, but this isn’t tennis, and if Race Direction decide not to do anything about it, then I can offer my opinion, but we just have to accept it, swallow it and carry on. I’m glad he didn’t fall, because then Marc would probably have been given a penalty, because that move was fairly over the limit. If Jorge hadn’t been there, Marc would have ended up somewhere in the grandstands, because he definitely used him as a berm to help him turn.”

What should Jorge have done differently?

“He should have shut the door a bit more. We discussed that. He kept to the left after coming out of the fast right hander, but then moved to the right, a bit too far, and that opened a gap. There wasn’t really any room, because Marquez would never have made the corner. Jorge was supposed to take that corner in first gear, to block and hold the tight line, get off the brakes earlier, to ensure he couldn’t get by. Unfortunately, he thought that Marc was not going to try to get by here.”

“It has nothing to do with the different riding styles and lines of the Honda and the Yamaha. Marc just thought, I’ll try and see where I end up. Luckily for both of them, it ended up OK, because if he had crashed, then he would have been given a penalty. [Race Direction] spoke about the pass for a long time. Dani and Jorge would never have tried to pull such a stunt, they don’t use their opponents as berms to try to make the corner, and that’s a bit what happened here. It’s not a contact sport, and this sort of thing happens, but if they don’t act against it, it gets accepted, which I think is a bad thing.”

“We keep talking about mistakes, and they are mistakes by Marc, errors of judgment, but so far, he has got away with it.”

Herve Poncharal, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team boss

“There are some tracks like Jerez or Assen, where in the last corner always a lot of things happen, and everyone remembers. Everyone remembers Vale [Rossi] on Sete [Gibernau], Colin’s [Edwards] last corner at Assen, or two weeks’ ago, in Superbikes, they had some incredible moves there. So this track is like that, and I think that if I was Jorge’s manager, I would say, this is a little bit too much and this is not what we are here for, and if I was Marc’s manager, I would say, you had a chance and you try, and this is why you come here, you have to show fighting spirit to the very last corner. This is what he did.”

“For me I would say 50/50. For sure Jorge was may a bit too confident, a bit too cautious, but if he had braked very late, maybe he would have been a bit wide, and opened even more room for Marquez. But if you’re Marquez, you do it, there was a possibility, he arrived from very far behind and he was faster on the brake. I don’t think Jorge was expecting that, he thought he was in control, but Marquez is quite special. When it’s Dani and Jorge and Vale, they are a bit more experienced and maybe a bit ‘cleaner’, but Marquez is from Moto2 and Marquez is 19, and Marquez is a young lion who is so hungry.”

Livio Suppo, Repsol Honda Team Principal

“There was some space, and in that corner, it’s not the first time and it’s not the last time that something happens there. Honestly I don’t think, in my opinion is less aggressive than what happen between Vale and Sete in 2005. And nothing happened then, I can’t see why should something happen now.”

Photo: Yamaha Racing

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.