Yamaha appeal after Rossi denies foul play

Honda's Marc Marquez (right) and Yamaha's Valentino Rossi in action during the Malaysian Grand Prix.Rossi is facing a grid penalty for the final race after he was adjudged to have kicked out at Marquez.
Honda's Marc Marquez (right) and Yamaha's Valentino Rossi in action during the Malaysian Grand Prix.Rossi is facing a grid penalty for the final race after he was adjudged to have kicked out at Marquez.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

KUALA LUMPUR • Yamaha have appealed against Valentino Rossi's penalty for a collision at the Malaysian Grand Prix with the Italian claiming it has "cut me off by the legs" ahead of the MotoGP title decider.

Championship leader Rossi (312 points) denied kicking out at defending champion Marc Marquez (222) and sending the Spaniard sliding out of the race during a tense fight for a crucial third-place finish at Sepang on Sunday.

Rossi was demoted to the back of the grid for the final race of the season at Valencia next month with his only rival for the world title, Jorge Lorenzo (305), just seven points behind.

The incident has reignited simmering bad blood between Rossi, a nine-time motorcycling champion and his rivals, including Yamaha team-mate Lorenzo.

Rossi, 36, previously said Marquez, 22, had schemed to help his compatriot Lorenzo win precious points at the Australian Grand Prix.

"It's very clear from the helicopter footage (at Sepang) that I didn't want to make him crash, I just wanted to make him lose time, go outside of the line and slow down," Rossi said.

The footage showed Rossi slowing down and pinning Marquez towards the outside of the track.

Their bikes touched and, after Marquez slid off the track, Rossi's foot can be seen off its peg.

"It's clear that when my foot slipped of the foot peg, Marquez had already crashed," Rossi said.

MotoGP race director Mike Webb confirmed that Yamaha have launched an appeal.

In remarks posted on MotoGP's website, Webb said Marquez was partly to blame for "causing problems to Rossi, who reacted".

However, Rossi, who has seen his lead over Lorenzo, 28, whittled down to just seven points, called the punishment unfair.

"The championship is not over yet but this sanction cut me off by the legs," he said.

Spain's Dani Pedrosa (190) cruised to victory in Malaysia while Lorenzo, who is aiming for his third MotoGP crown, seized second place, followed by Rossi.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2015, with the headline 'Yamaha appeal after Rossi denies foul play'. Print Edition | Subscribe