It has started… or has it just carried on? It was meant to be a new season and a new start for the Movistar Yamaha Team.
One of their aims this season was probably to stay out of the public eye because of feuds between their riders in the past. Remember when there was talk of the ‘wall’ that was built that divided the garage and the team? And we haven’t forgotten the end of the 2015 season when the ‘incident’ between Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez occurred; which questioned Lorenzo’s loyalty to his teammate who insisted on a harsher punishment to guarantee his championship winning success off track. (It also confirmed Marquez’s loyalty to his fellow countryman and not to his idol Rossi.)
Just when we thought everything was calm within the MotoGP camp, although an atmosphere has been sensed by everyone since the incident last season, the teammates clashed again this time on track. Initially the impression was that Lorenzo did not like or agree to Rossi following him on track as if to receive a tow or an indication of how to ride the lap; Lorenzo has dominated throughout testing and practice and remained the one to beat.
During FP4 Rossi was on track on his Movistar Yamaha trying to improve his time. Lorenzo came out from the pits and on his out lap interrupted Rossi causing him to have to slow up and abort his attempts to improve. Rossi was not happy with this and expressed this to Lorenzo through a series of hand gestures and head movements. Nothing more was seen until the end of free practice when the two pulled up alongside each other to practice a standing start and a repeat of this was seen.
Later in the press conference, the two were confronted. Rossi said: “He exited from the pit without looking at the track and when he arrived at the first corner he tried to slow down but he was on the line.
“The problem is that this situation happened in Misano qualifying where I did the same mistake. He was very angry with me after and in the end, they gave me one point, but they don’t give him one point.”
After Rossi recently confirmed his contract with Movistar Yamaha has been extended by two years, he also addressed rumours of Lorenzo making the switch to Ducati as he did previously; his remarks were, “For me, to go to Ducati you have to be very brave. You have to have guts to change bikes.”
Lorenzo argued the latest incident from his point of view. “In my opinion, he had no reason to complain. Everyone knows when you exit the pits you can’t stop to let them past. The only thing you can do is stay on the white line. I cannot be in the gravel. What can I do? If he is still angry with me I don’t know the reason, you have to ask him.”
It is still clear that grudges are still being held towards each other; let us hope that this time they are settled fairly and on track.