MARC Marquez flatly denied the accusation that he intentionally tries to force his MotoGP rivals to submit or crash.
Tensions between he and Valentino Rossi flared again at the Grand Prix of Argentina after an attempted pass by Marquez forced the Yamaha rider off the track and crashing on the wet grass.
The nine-time world champion lashed out at Marquez to media after the race, accusing him of putting other riders in danger with his aggressive tactics when battling on track.
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Marquez had already been penalised for an overly-aggressive pass earlier in the race on Aleix Espargaro, one which saw the Repsol Honda rider make contact with the Aprilia at high speed as they approached the penultimate corner.
“Maybe the biggest mistake I make in the race was with Aleix,” Marquez said.
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“Because I arrive four seconds (per lap) faster and I didn’t realise. When you ride four seconds faster than the other guys it’s quite difficult (to judge). I didn’t realise.
“I try 100% to avoid the contact and then I say sorry. Okay, I receive penalty and I understand.”
His charge resumed after passing Espargaro, until he reached sixth-placed Rossi with four laps to go.
“There, I think I didn’t (do) anything crazy,” Marquez said.
“You need to understand the track condition. On the (racing) line it was dry, but I (hit) a wet patch, locked the front, release the brakes … Okay, I have the contact, but I tried to turn.
“And then when I see that he crashed I just try to say sorry.”
Marquez also cited similar incidents that occurred during the race between other riders, including a first-lap scuffle with Johann Zarco that saw Dani Pedrosa spectacularly crash out of the race, and one between Espargaro and Danilo Petrucci that the Aprilia rider believed worse than his moment with Marquez.
Responding directly to a question about Rossi’s accusation, Marquez was blunt.
“I’m completely disappointed,” he said.
“In my career, I never, never, never go straight to a rider thinking that he will crash, you know? Always I try to avoid.
“Sometimes you overtake (and) it’s closer, sometimes it’s more clear. Today what happened with Valentino was a mistake, a consequence of the track conditions because I lock the front.
“But in my career, what he’s saying, I think is wrong.”
He also tried to hose down suggestions the incident would reignite the feud between them from 2015.
“Honestly speaking, I don’t care, I just focus on my (garage) and I know what happened,” he said.
“Of course, today I did a few mistakes. A few of them I recognise. A few of that mistakes was from race direction, a few of that mistakes was mine. And I recognise and I will try to improve for the future. I think I did everything well. I’m just very very ‘happy’ for the race because the pace was very good.
“But about the race, I try to push always 100%. Valentino push a lot. But he was in the past also 25 years old; everybody will remember.”
HIS DRAMAS BEGAN AT THE START
Marquez was carving his way through the field after stalling his bike on the grid, push starting it and resuming his grid position, officials levying him with a ridethrough penalty that dropped him to 19th place.
“When I arrive on the grid and I had a problem with the engine and it stopped. That normally never happens,” he said.
“In that case I put my hand up but nobody was there, and then I start to push my bike and luckily the bike ran.
“At that time I didn’t know what I needed to do. I knew if the bike is off, then I need to go off. But the bike ran. Then when the marshal arrived I asked him — because he is directly connected to race direction — I ask ‘pit lane or grid?’
“At that time he didn’t know what’s going on, and then I saw another guy, this marshal put his hands off my bike and made (a ‘thumbs-up’), and I understand that they started to go away, and I understand that I need to go to my grid place.
“I started the race (and) appear on the dash board ‘ride through penalty’, something I did not understand. Because if a marshal say you are allowed, why then say after a few laps you are not allowed and you need to have a ride through?”