Honda hit back at Rossi after 'bodyguard' outburst

Sun Nov 8, 2015 6:40pm EST
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(Reuters) - Honda hit back at Yamaha's Valentino Rossi after he accused their Spanish rider Marc Marquez of behaving like a 'bodyguard' to ensure compatriot Jorge Lorenzo won the MotoGP world championship in Valencia on Sunday.

Lorenzo, Rossi's team mate, had been the only man who could deny the Italian a 10th career title and he did so by winning the season-ending race from pole position to take his third championship in the top category.

Rossi had started last, a penalty resulting from the previous round in Malaysia where he allegedly kicked out at Marquez on track with the outgoing champion crashing, but finished fourth.

The Italian would have been champion if Marquez and Honda team mate Dani Pedrosa had managed to beat Lorenzo but they finished second and third -- with Rossi decrying an "embarrassing" afternoon for the sport.

"This is not the atmosphere we wanted to experience at the end of an unforgettable championship," said Honda Racing Corporation vice-president Shuhei Nakamoto in a statement.

"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."

Rossi had previously made accusations against Marquez in Australia of assisting Lorenzo, with the season finale overshadowed by controversy that officials had warned was poisoning the atmosphere.

Nakamoto said there was no evidence to support the claims.

"Today Valentino has alleged that Marc never attempted to pass Jorge, who has clearly had a very good pace all weekend which he demonstrated by taking a strong pole position in qualifying," he added.   Continued...

Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi of Italy attends a news conference ahead of the Valencia Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Ricardo Tormo racetrack in Cheste, near Valencia, Spain, November 5, 2015. REUTERS/Heino Kalis