MotoGP: Lorenzo and Zarco trade barbs after Motegi clash

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Five-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo has become the latest person to end a MotoGP race frustrated with the aggressive style of rookie Johann Zarco, after contact between the pair left the Ducati rider fuming after the race.

Lorenzo was an early leader of the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, but as more and more rain continued to fall on the Motegi circuit, he quickly fell back through the field –  coming into contact with the assertive Frenchman and coming away from the encounter the worst.

“It’s not the first time that he’s done this sort of thing, not just with me but also with two or three other riders. It’s like he’s playing on the PlayStation – he’s very aggressive, invades your position, forces you off the track. I went to his box after the race, but he doesn’t understand that he did anything wrong. Maybe someone needs to tell him to calm down, because he still thinks he’s doing nothing wrong.”

But despite strong words from the former champion, the Frenchman took it all in his stride after the race, just like he has after previous clashes with rivals – and instead going on the attack against the Spaniard.

“I was confident with the front, so I could attack in corner nine. He tried to stay on the outside when I went out of the corner and I couldn’t see him. We touched, on the acceleration, but I was on my normal line. If anything, because I was on the inside it was me who got disadvantaged.”

However, despite the contact between the pair, Lorenzo also conceded that it wasn’t the make or break of his race, instead falling back to eventually finish sixth thanks to setup woes exacerbated by Sunday’s torrential rain

“From the first few laps, I didn’t have any confidence from the front of the bike. We tried to modify the front end of the bike, putting more weight on it, but it didn’t work and the others had much more confidence than me in the middle of the corner. It’s a shame because I expected to fight for the victory, but instead I was very slow because of our settings.”

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer