Valentino Rossi has told MCN that he was shocked at Jorge Lorenzo’s criticism about his aggressive overtakes after their enthralling podium fight at the Twin Ring Motegi last weekend.
Rossi came in for scathing criticism from the Spaniard after he claimed third position in a stunning finale to the Japanese Grand Prix.
Lorenzo felt Rossi’s overtakes were close to being dangerous and he vented his frustration after losing a close battle with the 31-year-old Italian.
Lorenzo took his complaints to Yamaha management, who then asked Rossi to curtail his aggressive tactics if the Fiat Yamaha team-mates became embroiled in another gripping scrap this season.
The race for third was undoubtedly the highlight so far in a tedious 2010 MotoGP campaign and nine-times world champion Rossi was clearly still revelling in his last gasp Japanese success over Lorenzo in Malaysia today.
He said it was understandable that Lorenzo was miffed because he’d been beaten into fourth spot.
But Rossi made it clear that he felt he had done nothing more than race hard and defended his approach.
He said: “I was surprised he was so upset. I’ve watched the race on TV and f**k, it was great with some hard overtaking. I was aggressive but he was also aggressive. Both of us were aggressive but it is the last lap and you’re fighting for the podium.
"I think the situation is very clear and I also understand that when you make a great battle like this and you lose you are a little pissed off. This is normal, it also happens to me when I lose.
"I made my race and also the situation was not crucial for the championship because Dani (Pedrosa) was in the hospital. Many times Jorge said that he expect this fight on the last lap with me, so I don't what he expected from me. Does he think he can be aggressive with me and me not with him? I always give the maximum and try to arrive in front.
"For sure the battle was very aggressive but nothing more. If Dani was in front and he won the race then maybe I’d have behaved differently but like this we play just for the honour on the last lap. I did with him like I would with any other rider who tried to beat me on the last lap.”
Rossi confirmed he’d been spoken to by Yamaha senior race boss Masao Furusawa but shrugged off the warning when he added: “Yamaha came to me and said keep attention in the next races but they were not very angry.
"They understand the situation. All the people from Yamaha come to me and make congratulations after the podium. They said it was a great battle and they enjoyed it a lot.
"I said to Yamaha, what do you expect from me, to arrive behind? If I know this I will stay at home.”
So would he change his tactics if he found himself in a similar situation over the course of the last four races?
“I’ll race to win with attention, “said Rossi with a wry smile.