Rossi says Zarco “doesn’t understand” how to pass cleanly

Valentino Rossi says he doesn’t believe MotoGP rookie Johann Zarco “understands” how to overtake cleanly after their latest coming together during the Dutch TT.

Rossi says Zarco “doesn’t understand” how to pass cleanly
Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Race winner Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Podium: Race winner Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Tech 3 Yamaha rider Zarco started the Assen race from pole after topping Saturday’s wet qualifying, and led the opening 11 laps of the race in dry conditions before being passed by Rossi at Turn 1 on lap 12.

The Frenchman tried to retaliate immediately, ducking up the inside of Rossi at the long Turn 3/Turn 4 right-hander, but succeeded only in clipping the rear of Rossi’s bike with his front and dropping back.

It followed a previous clash between the two Yamaha riders in Austin, where Zarco tried to muscle his way past and in doing so forced Rossi to cut the track – with the Italian being given a 0.5 second time penalty.

“I start to think he’s not a bad guy, he just doesn’t understand the size between one bike to the other,” said Rossi of Zarco. “Because also today, like in Austin, he tried something impossible.

“I don’t know why, it was just my line. For me when you overtake another one you have to calculate also that the other one cannot disappear. He was a lot in delay, he took me on the leathers.

“He’s aggressive, ok, until everything is good, he’s like this. Anyway, like Marc [Marquez] says, this is MotoGP: everybody has to be aggressive and it’s like this.”

For his part, Zarco, who pitted for his second bike when light rain arrived late in the race, said he tried to take advantage of Rossi running slightly wide when making his move for the lead.

“When [Rossi] overtook me he went a little bit wide twice, so I took immediately the opportunity, seeing if he can be wide,” explained Zarco.

“I wanted to keep leading because it would be better for me to keep the pace, being the leader. When he went a little bit wide I tried to go inside but he was quite fast also, so we touched each other.

“When we came into Turn 3, [Rossi] went a little bit wide, I really tried to keep the corner speed inside, but his corner speed was quite good so we are both on the right side – I am on his right with my head totally [pointed] to the right.

“I cannot see, I just take the decision and I wait [to see] if we will have contact or not.”

After his bike swap, Zarco lapped several seconds off the pace and ended up 14th, also getting a ride-through penalty for speeding in the pits.

Additional reporting by Casper Ferwerda

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