Wednesday 7 December 2016

Valentino Rossi accuses rivals of colluding to deny him the world title

Daniel Johnson

Published 09/11/2015 | 12:36

MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi of Italy speaks with team members at his box after the Valencia Motorcycle Grand Prix. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)
MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi of Italy speaks with team members at his box after the Valencia Motorcycle Grand Prix. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)

MotoGP’s most controversial season ended in bitter acrimony on Sunday as Valentino Rossi accused rivals of colluding to deny him the world title.

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The Italian legend launched his tirade after narrowly missing out on the championship despite scything through the field from the back of the grid – and no one was spared his vitriol.

Rossi said the new champion, Jorge Lorenzo, did not deserve the title, and that fellow Spaniard Marc Márquez had acted like a “bodyguard” to prevent him from taking a seventh championship.

Lorenzo, Rossi’s Yamaha team-mate, and Márquez denied the charges, but the fans in Valencia made their feelings known as they jeered Rossi’s opponents, even though they were on home soil.

Rossi, who finished fourth, said Márquez and his Honda team-mate, Dani Pedrosa, had deliberately held station behind Lorenzo in the closing stages. The 36-year-old had to start from the back of the field as punishment for his alleged kick on Márquez in the penultimate round in Malaysia.

“Today everyone has seen their plan, this makes me sad and it’s a bad thing for our sport,” Rossi said. “Lorenzo is a very good rider, it would be nice to battle on equal terms, but I think even he wouldn’t be happy to have won like this. I’m sad, a great opportunity has vanished and I did not deserve this.”

Honda Racing Corporation also later denied the the accusations. In a statement from they said: "This is not the atmosphere we wanted to experience at the end of an unforgettable championship.

"We understand that its been a very difficult day for Valentino ... However, on the other side we cannot accept the strong accusations he has directed against our rider and Honda in the past weeks and in today's post race press conference."

There was at least one happy, uncontroversial end to the season in the Moto3 category, with Danny Kent becoming the first British motorcycling champion since Barry Sheene in 1977.

Kent, 21 from Wiltshire, has been on the cusp of a historic title for several races but faced a nerve-jangling final round. Despite starting 18th, Kent fought his way up to ninth, which was more than enough to secure the crown.

“The emotions are so high,” Kent said. “In the last four races there was a slight chance of being world champion and it’s normal to be disappointed each time but for sure we are going to have a great evening.

“It’s an amazing feeling, a dream come true. You need luck, a great bike and a great team behind you.”

Telegraph.co.uk

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