(Reuters) - Valentino Rossi and Yamaha team mate Jorge Lorenzo expressed regrets on Thursday about their behavior as they prepared for a tense and controversy-laden MotoGP title showdown in Valencia at the weekend.
Italian Rossi, who must start from last place on Sunday after the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected his bid for a stay of execution for the penalty pending an appeal, told reporters he regretted the move in Malaysia that kicked off the furor.
The championship leader, seven points clear of Spaniard Lorenzo, collected the grid penalty after a clash with Marc Marquez that took Honda’s outgoing champion out of the race.
“I just regret going wide and not following my normal line,” said Rossi when asked if he regretted anything from the last two weeks.
“But I am here and we have to try the maximum and stay concentrated, try to do good work during the weekend and arrive competitive as fast as possible for the race.”
The 36-year-old Italian said he had no intention of walking away from the sport after Sunday.
“My dream was to fight for the championship and after a very good season I can fight,” he said. “For the rest, this situation doesn’t modify my passion or my thinking of the future.
“I will race next year because I already have the contract and during next year a lot of things will change...and after that I decide (whether) to continue or not.”
Lorenzo, speaking separately, said he regretted the thumbs- down gesture he made against his team mate on the Malaysian podium as the Italian collected the third-place trophy.
“I just want to say the gesture I made on the podium was a mistake,” he said.
“I regret that. It’s not a sporting example especially for young people watching MotoGP around the world,” added the Spaniard who also made clear he had no intention of leaving Yamaha.
“Naturally all marriages have some moments of disagreement,” he said. “Our relationship in the future will be the same. Valentino and myself form one of the best teams in the world.”
Marquez, who is out of contention for the title, said he had not changed his opinion about what happened in Malaysia but was not expecting to talk to Rossi until after the championship was decided.
Vito Ippolito, president of motorcycling’s governing body, said changes would be made next year to prevent such a controversy happening again.
Editing by Tony Jimenez