It’s bound to happen. In every racing series there seem to be riders who always come together. The latest friction on track-and now off-in MotoGP (aside from the ongoing Casey Stoner / Valentino Rossi debate) is between Majorcan Jorge Lorenzo and Italian Marco Simoncelli.
The rift has been brewing since last MotoGP season, with Lorenzo recently making comments in the press about Simoncelli’s riding style being dangerous.
Tensions reached a fever pitch today following the qualifying for the Estoril MotoGP. Simoncelli sat atop the time sheets for the majority of the session, with Lorenzo getting past in the waning moments. The pair then went after one another on the world stage in the post-qualifying press conference.
Below is an official MotoGP transcript.
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini MotoGP): "Yes, I read something he said about my riding style but I don’t know, for me he said some wrong things because he said that last year in Valencia I touched him and he almost crashed, but it was not true because I was in front and he tried to pass me and made a mistake. He touched me and his tire was on my leathers, from the leg to the shoulder, so for me it’s not a correct example. Another thing is that some years ago he was disqualified by Race Direction for his aggressive riding style, so for me he said a wrong thing."
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP): "For my part I think that yesterday I said the right words. For me it’s not a problem if it doesn’t happen, we’ll see what happens in the future."
Simoncelli: "Yes, but you gave a wrong example, for me, from Valencia."
Lorenzo: "I think you have touched with a lot of riders, no?"
Simoncelli: "Yes, but your example was wrong, for me."
Lorenzo: "How many races have I not crashed in? I didn’t touch anybody."
Simoncelli: "I said that your example was wrong, sorry!"
Lorenzo: "This is your opinion! But I think a lot of people here in the paddock, a lot of riders, have the same opinion as me."
Simoncelli: "Try to ask."
Lorenzo: "Ask (Andrea) Dovizioso, for example. Ask (Hiroshi) Aoyama, for example."
Simoncelli: "Ask Dovizioso in 2005!!"
Lorenzo: "It doesn’t matter. If nothing happens in the future, it’s not a problem for me. But if something happens with you in the future, it will be a problem."
Simoncelli: "Okay. I will be arrested!"
Lorenzo: "This question, everybody is laughing, but it’s not funny because we are playing with our lives. We are riding at 300km/h and we are on bikes which are very powerful and very heavy. It’s not minibikes. It’s a dangerous sport and you have to think about what you are doing. It’s okay, I am ready to fight with all the riders, but I don’t like to fight not clean. It’s the way.
"I injured myself a lot of times, I made De Angelis crash in Japan which was my fault, my mistake, so from that moment I’ve always tried to ride clean. I can make a mistake because I am human but normally when I am riding I think twice about things. I am not impulsive because it’s one thing to play with your health, and another thing to play with the other riders’ health."
The two riders will be lining up alongside one another in tomorrow’s MotoGP race, with Lorenzo on pole, and Simoncelli in the runner-up position. The first corner is going to be interesting.