Marquez, Rossi explain Misano qualifying run-in

Valentino Rossi, Alex Rins, and Marc Marquez pic:

Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi have explained their close call in qualifying for the San Marino MotoGP, for which they escaped sanction.

Marquez went down the inside of Rossi at the high-speed Curvone bend right at the end of Qualifying 2, prompting the Monster Energy Yamaha rider to do similar at the slow Turn 14.

The move almost caused a collision between two riders who already have a fractious history, evidenced most notably by incidents in Malaysia in 2015 and Argentina last year.

They were summoned to a stewards panel after qualifying at Misano, which subsequently reported: “Because the laps of both riders were cancelled due to both having exceeded track limits prior to the incident, no further action will be taken.”

Marquez, who was seeking an improvement on a season-worst fifth on the grid, said that he spotted Rossi run over the track limits and decided to pass when the Italian was riding somewhat slowly.

The Repsol Honda rider claimed he was lucky to avoid a crash.

“At first I didn’t understand what happened because that kind of overtake in qualifying practice is a little bit strange,” said the Repsol Honda rider.

“I don’t know what the intention was, you must ask him. But anyway I will explain from the beginning to be clear because people will say ‘he was following again Valentino’ but it was not like this.

“I went out from the box on my last run and, you can check, I was completely alone. Then when I arrived at the back straight Valentino was waiting or riding very slow and then I just (waited) behind him, because of course I was in front of him on the timesheets and my intention was not to push until my last lap.

“We started the last lap, I left some gap between us. Then when we went out from Turn 6, he touched the green (painted area beyond kerb) so his lap was cancelled.

“Then I saw he was riding fast, but not super fast and I had the chance to overtake on the back straight.

“It’s true that then in the fast corner I touched the green, but I only saw on the TV (afterwards) because on the bike I didn’t realise, so I kept pushing.

“But then we arrived at Turn 14, I just went in and saw a black-and-yellow bike arriving very fast on the inside with a speed that was impossible to turn the corner.

“Lucky for me I was able to avoid the crash, this was a good reaction.

“The second reaction with my hand, I want to be clear that it was not to say ‘sorry’ it was just to say ‘what’s going on here?’ because I didn’t understand.

“But anyway the best thing for me is that this time I was able to avoid the crash.”

Rossi said he was simply trying to make up some lap time, having been shuffled back to seventh on the grid, and did not mean to outbrake himself at Turn 14.

“I was thinking Argentina 2018, when he knocked me out without restraint,” he joked when asked if the incident reminded him of Sepang in 2015.

“I was on my hot lap, I was pushing 100 percent and he overtook me in the fast corner in Turn 11 and he already made me lose a lot of time.

“But for overtaking me, he go on the green, so I try to stay more inside and try to re-overtake in the hairpin but I arrive wide. At the end we lose all the chance to do the lap time.

“He tried to pass me in the Curvone knowing that he was ruining my lap and to overtake me he also went (onto the) green. I then tried to overtake him, but I went a bit long.

“I’m sorry because, apart from this thing that can happen, I was hoping to be faster in qualifying and to start further ahead, because the pace is not bad.

“I’m seventh anyway, but it’s going to be tough because there are so many of them who are strong.”

Like Marquez, Rossi said that he did not realise he had already exceeded track limits himself.

“I didn’t know that I touched the green,” he explained.

“I was pushing and I thought that I was not on the green. I was on my hot lap because it was my last chance. I see later on the paper that I touched the green.”

Rossi’s team-mate Maverick Viñales took pole while Red Bull KTM’s Pol Espargaro was the only non-Yamaha rider in the top four.

Meanwhile, Gresini Aprilia’s Andrea Iannone has been ruled out of tonight’s 27-lap race having crashed three times in the weekend’s four practice sessions and sustained “left shoulder trauma”.

Race start for the San Marino MotoGP is 2200 AEST.

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