Honda says Valentino Rossi was 'cunning' in MotoGP battle at Assen

Honda MotoGP team principal Livio Suppo believes Valentino Rossi's actions in his last-lap battle with Marc Marquez at Assen were premeditated and that cutting the chicane was a "cunning" move

Honda says Valentino Rossi was 'cunning' in MotoGP battle at Assen

Marquez attempted to pass Rossi for the Dutch TT lead on the final lap but the two made contact.

Rossi then went across the gravel at the final corner and rejoined still far enough ahead to take the victory.

While Rossi was adamant after the race that Marquez's dive had pushed him off the track, Marquez and his Honda team were convinced Rossi deliberately cut the corner to preserve an advantage he would have otherwise lost - a charge Suppo stands by.

"Marc said: 'I had prepared that attack for the entire weekend'. Valentino said: 'I expected that attack'," said Suppo in an interview with Italian magazine Motosprint.

"I struggle to think Valentino did not prepare for it.

"Let's just say he had carefully considered that possibility. The way he straightened up the bike and opened the gas simultaneously is indicative.

"He did everything too quickly to think that it wasn't prepared. He was very cunning.

"Valentino is shrewd, he has often done things that others wouldn't even think.

"Marc went hell for leather, and did a textbook final lap that however wasn't enough.

"Valentino was a champion of guile by straightening the bike as soon as he saw Marc getting close.

"He wasn't hit strongly, it was just a contact, so Valentino didn't get the sort of blow that pushes you off track.

"He went off track himself."

Suppo said the Assen incident reminded him of Rossi's controversial battle with Casey Stoner at Laguna Seca in 2008, when both Suppo and Stoner were at Ducati.

Laguna Seca 2008: Stoner and Rossi argue over incidents

"Valentino has always been good at making things go his way," said Suppo.

"At Laguna Seca in 2008 Casey Stoner was one second per lap quicker, but instead [Rossi] won the race.

"Let's just say he's good at pulling a rabbit out of a hat."

He also urged the media and Rossi's fans not to start a backlash against Marquez.

"He is very aggressive, he always tries to win, and having him around you on the last lap is always a problem... but he isn't dangerous," said Suppo.

"People must think hard before saying certain things, because we have already gone through that with [Marco] Simoncelli.

"A stir against Marco began in Spain, like one is perhaps starting in Italy against Marc and for Valentino.

"Calmness is needed. Some things must be reflected upon.

"At Barcelona Marc had that incident with [Jorge] Lorenzo under braking, but after going wide he chose to run off the track in order not to crash into Jorge.

"So he thinks, he isn't a nutcase. And he isn't dangerous."

Translation by Michele Lostia

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