Valentino Rossi reckons a delay with the start lights going out at the Twin Ring Motegi caused three riders, including Briton Cal Crutchlow, to jump the start in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso and fellow Italian Marco Simoncelli also jumped the start of the 24-lap race and saw their hopes of a podium in front of senior Honda management wrecked.
All three had to complete a pitlane ride throug penalty but Rossi reckons the start lights were held on for longer than normal.
Simoncelli said he jumped the start by reacting to Dovizioso’s movement ahead of him, while Crutchlow said he moved early having seen Simoncelli move.
But Rossi reckons the start lights stayed on for well over a second longer than anticipated, which caused Dovizioso to jump start for the first time in his career.
Rossi told MCN: "The problem was the red light stayed on too long compared to normal. Usually it is around three seconds but for some reason it stayed on minimum 4.5s and for that reason Andrea, Marco and Cal made the mistake with the clutch. They expect the light to go out earlier but it doesn't happen when they anticipated."
For six pages of coverage from the Twin Ring Motegi race, see tomorrow’s issue of MCN.