Yamaha wanted race control to defuse Rossi/Marquez tensions

Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli tried to get MotoGP race control to intervene to ease the simmering tensions between Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez prior to their clash during the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Yamaha wanted race control to defuse Rossi/Marquez tensions
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team and Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Podium: third place Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Massimo Meregalli with Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing and Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team in press conference
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing and Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Podium: third place Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing and Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Third place Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

It was clear emotions between the pair were running high on the Thursday before the race, when Rossi accused Marquez of riding to favour Jorge Lorenzo’s title bid in the preceding round at Phillip Island.

The Italian later admitted that he wanted to warn Marquez, but his call did nothing to change the Spaniard’s attitude, and did not alarm the series’ officials.

Some on-track intimidation during practice subsequently proved that there was real tension in the air, hence Yamaha’s intervention.

"On Saturday October 24, Massimo Meregalli went to Race Control to suggest they should call [Rossi and Marquez] and give them a clear warning before the the race,” a Yamaha spokesperson told Motorsport.com.

“However, Race Control replied that it was not necessary to call the two riders.”

Graziano Rossi’s anger

This decision from race officials enraged Rossi’s father Graziano, who told Italian publication Oggi: "After such strong statements, race officials should have called the two riders and warn them.

"They only had to calm them down and ask them to run their own race without interfering with each other. It was their job to tell them that they were under close observation and they would be heavily penalised if one would do anything wrong.

“Instead of that, nothing happened. They preferred to say nothing."

The former 250cc Grand Prix winner added: "On the Thursday before the race, my son sounded the alarm bell.

“Valentino is no dreamer and if he said those things, it’s not because he wanted to create some controversy, but because he wanted race officials to come into play, which did not happen".

Carlo Pernat, manager to Andrea Iannone, concurred that this created an intolerable situation on track between two angry, frustrated and uncontrolled riders, and felt race control had mishandled the situation.

"Race control made a huge mistake by not saying a thing after Valentino’s press conference," Pernat told Motorsport.com.

"After such strong words where [Rossi] said what Marquez did to him during the Australian race, race control should have called the two riders and ask then: ‘What’s going on?’ And nothing happened.

"It’s clear to me that race control should have called the two riders on Saturday night because it was evident that something bad was about to happen, because tension ran too high.

“I think race control took things a bit too lightly. I’m not saying that they are responsible of what happened, because guilt is another matter, but they did not manage this situation correctly."

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