Suppo reveals details of controversial Rossi-Marquez incidents of 2015

We've all seen the controversial on-track moments of Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez's 2015 rivalry... but what happened behind the scenes?

Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez

Former Honda MotoGP team principal Livio Suppo has given an insight into the wrangling behind the scenes of Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez’s very public fall-out in 2015, which led to Jorge Lorenzo winning the world title.

Yamaha pair Lorenzo and Rossi were locked in a duel for the 2015 title coming into the closing stages of the year, but matters came to a head with Marquez at Phillip Island when the Italian accused the Honda rider of riding intentionally slowly.

In a race of 52 changes for the lead, Marquez went on to win the race with a pass on the final lap, ahead of Lorenzo in second, Andrea Iannone third and Rossi in fourth. At the time Rossi accused Marquez of being Lorenzo’s ‘fan’ and that he was just toying with his rivals to ensure his countryman had a chance to claw back points.

Such was the bad blood, that Rossi attended a party hosted by Honda during which he confronted Marquez about his actions, which the Spaniard has always denied.

“It happened that two “alpha" riders collided, the new champion [Marc] against the old lion [Valentino],” Suppo told “Phillip Island 2015: an incredible race. Honda has always organised a party in a Phillip Island venue where other riders also come: that evening Rossi also came. It was the first time he said anything to Marquez. But that was a classic Phillip Island race.”

With Rossi leading Lorenzo by 11 points coming into the penultimate round, the Italian and Marquez infamously came together at Sepang after a bitter and time-consuming battle for third place. Marquez went down, while Rossi kept third but picked up three penalty points that’d force him to start the Valencia finale from the back of the grid. This ultimately paved the way for Lorenzo to overturn a seven-point deficit and snatch the title.

Such was the tension, Honda’s Suppo revealed he wanted to retire both Marquez and team-mate Dani Pedrosa after lap one in Valencia so neither could be accused of getting too involved in the title battle in the heat of the moment. However, HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto vetoed his idea.

“I think, however you see it, it was a very bad period for motorcycling. In Valencia there was a beastly tension. I had suggested to Nakamoto to have Marquez and Pedrosa start, but to bring them back after a lap one. I was unable convince Nakamoto, also for a number of very right reasons: they continued and the race went as it went.”