Controversial day ends in disaster for Rossi

Saturday, 2 October 2004

Controversial day ends in disaster for Rossi

Valentino Rossi will not forget the inaugural Marlboro Grand Prix of Qatar for as long as he lives after an incredible day of controversy, drama and ultimate disaster.

The current MotoGP World Champion was forced to start from the back of the grid when Race Direction ruled that his team had infringed the rules by creating a clean patch on the track at his third-row starting grid position.

Rossis Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha team appealed against the decision, claiming that the crew were simply marking a point for Rossi to aim for during the morning warm-up session, enabling him to develop a good line into the first corner.

Despite starting from 21st position, Rossi had scythed through the field to eighth place within one lap and continued his scintillating progress until he caught the edge of the track with his rear wheel coming out of the second last turn on lap six and was thrown from his bike.

Firstly I have to say I was amazed and very disappointed by the decision to make me start at the back of the grid, commented Rossi after the race. I dont think there is any consistency in some of the decisions made.

At other races people have cleaned their grid places and nothing has happened. In fact, my crew were doing something they used to do with Doohan when the track was dirty. I didnt know about it until after it had happened.

Finally in the race I made a mistake. I had really pushed in the first few laps and could see that Colin was in slightly better shape than me when I was behind him. I ran wide in the second last turn and just clipped the grass.

They were looking strong but I did think I could have made the podium. Fortunately Im not hurt. I was worried about my finger but it is not serious.

Rossis lead was consequently cut to just fourteen points at the top of the championship but Team Director Davide Brivio refuses to panic. It has been a bad weekend, said Brivio. Well go away with Qatar with no result and no points but thats racing.

Valentino is still leading the Championship by fourteen points and now we will react and fight until the end of the Championship. In Brazil we were in the same situation and we fought back strongly. We have got three races to go and anything can happen.

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