Honda still certain Rossi kicked Marquez in Sepang MotoGP clash

Honda MotoGP president Shuhei Nakamoto remains adamant Valentino Rossi kicked Marc Marquez's bike during their controversial Malaysian Grand Prix battle

Honda still certain Rossi kicked Marquez in Sepang MotoGP clash

Though some television angles indicated the Italian kicked out at his Spanish rival, a lack of decisive evidence meant Rossi was officially penalised for pushing Marquez wide and causing him to crash.

"The data from Marc's bike shows that even though he was picking up the bike trying to avoid contact with Valentino, his front brake lever suddenly received an impact that locked the front tyre, which is the reason for his crash," said Nakamoto in a Honda statement on the controversy issued on Monday.

"We believe that this pressure was a result of Rossi's kick.

"The data acquisition from Marc's bike is available if anybody from Dorna, the FIM or media want to check."

Race direction and Yamaha suggested Marquez had been trying to make life difficult for Rossi in the Sepang battle following the earlier tension between them, but Nakamoto insisted this was not the case.

"He is a good guy, with strong and honest values," he said of Marquez.

"Marc was just trying to defend his position, as any rider would do, and we believe him 100 per cent.

"We know that Marc was struggling at the beginning of the race with the full tank, as has happened several times this season.

"Also he made a mistake at the beginning of the race and this allowed Jorge to pass him. Then Valentino arrived and they began to fight for third place.

"The passes were extreme, but safe, from both riders. Two of the greatest champions we've seen battling together on track.

"The laptimes they were doing were quite fast, clearly showing that there was no intention from Marc to slow down Valentino.

"In addition, after Marc crashed and Valentino had an open track in front of him, his laptimes were no faster then during the battle with Marc."

While making clear Honda respected race direction's handling of the incident, Nakamoto admitted to some disappointment Rossi was not given an instant penalty.

"We do believe there was enough evidence to allow them to take a decision during the race," he said.

Rossi will start last for the Valencia title decider as the penalty points he was awarded for the clash triggered a grid penalty, but he is appealing the decision.

"Valentino is the greatest ever champion of our sport," Nakamoto added.

"We believe he has done a great job this year, and if he wins the championship he truly deserves it, as he has been consistent and very fast all year.

"The fact that he is 36 years old increases the respect for such a great champion.

"Having said that, we don't understand his accusation related to the Phillip Island race and his manoeuvre in Sepang.

"We hope that Valentino will think it over and understand his mistake."

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