Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner admitted having flashbacks to their controversial collision in last year’s Jerez MotoGP race after they battled for the podium in an exciting finale to yesterday’s French Grand Prix.
Last year’s Jerez race served up one of the most controversial moments of the season after Rossi crashed and took out Stoner while they were racing for the rostrum in a rain-hit clash.
Rossi went to the Repsol Honda garage with his AGV helmet still on to apologise to Stoner, who then delivered the now legendary retort: “Did your ambition outweigh your talent?"
Yesterday’s Le Mans race was played out in almost identical conditions but this time there was no repeat of Rossi’s blunder as he executed a clinical last lap overtake to claim second.
That secured him his best Ducati result but the 33-year-old confessed to thinking about his over zealous move in Jerez while in pursuit of Stoner’s RC213V machine.
The nine-times world champion said: “Unfortunately last year I know that I had a special chance in Jerez to try for the podium and I made a mistake and behave a little bit like a young rider.
"Unfortunately I also took Casey but this time I was behind him and I stayed behind and I know he had a good pace. I stayed behind him while always thinking about the mistake of last year.”
Stoner said he too had recalled the Jerez collision when hearing the engine of Rossi’s factory Ducati Desmosedici on his tail in the final stages of the 28-lap race.
The double world champion said: “I could feel when he was right behind at the start that he was thinking about Jerez. I wasn’t in a good position at that point and didn’t have such a good feeling and I could hear Valentino getting on the gas very early and attempting some overtakes.
"I expected to see a bike coming up the inside but he didn’t, so I knew immediately he was thinking about this. But I also knew at the end of the race when he had a second chance he wasn’t going to think about it. I tried to hold on and do everything I could in the braking points but we had nothing for him.”
For more from Rossi and Stoner, see the May 23 issue of MCN.