Contact is part of motorcycling, says the sport’s chief as he addressed the infamous collision between Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Rossi will start Sunday’s season-ending Valencia Grand Prix from the back of the grid as he attempts to land a record-equalling eighth premier category world title after being adjudged to have kicked Marquez off his bike in a heated race two weeks ago in Malaysia.
The President of the Federation of International Motorcycling (FIM), Vito Ippolito, claimed too many people had added fuel to the fire since the incident.
“Motorcycling is not a contact sport, but contact is part of it,” Ippolito told AFP.
“If not, we would see processions not races.”
The collision and subsequent sanction caused outrage in both Spain and Italy with even the Prime Ministers of each country intervening to back their respective countrymen.
The sanction could well cost Rossi the title as he leads Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo by just seven points.
The Italian even took his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to overturn the penalty, but his appeal was dismissed on Thursday.
Rossi claimed the contact between the two wasn’t enough to force Marquez to crash, having previously claimed Marquez was conspiring against him to help his compatriot Lorenzo land the title.
Marquez’s Honda team released a statement on Monday claiming the technical data they had from the Spaniard’s bike proved his loss of control was caused by Rossi’s kick.