Valentino Rossi on ‘terrifying’ near-miss: ‘My girlfriend is destroyed

Valentino Rossi recognises just how close he came to being involved in such a serious incident as footage of his Austria near-miss make headlines around the world

Valentino Rossi - Yamaha MotoGP, Franco Morbidelli
Valentino Rossi - Yamaha MotoGP, Franco Morbidelli

Valentino Rossi says he is acutely aware of just how close he came to a potentially devastating situation following an extraordinary near-miss during the Austrian MotoGP.

Franco Morbidelli and Johann Zarco – both podium winners in Brno a few days earlier – tangled on the run up to Turn 3, with their respective Yamaha and Ducati machines spiralling out of control back across the circuit.

Incredibly, both bikes managed to thread between both Rossi and Yamaha Factory team-mate Maverick Vinales, with subsequent replays showing just how close each came to being struck by the bikes side-on.

The gravity of the situation wasn’t lost on Rossi, who looked visibly shaken by the incident in the garage as he waited for the restart and said his girlfriend was ‘destroyed’ by just how close he came to being caught up in something so serious.

"It was so scary. It was terrifying," Rossi said. "We have to pray to somebody, everybody has to pray to who he decides. But, f**k. I feel bad. I was scared, very much. Because today was very dangerous."

"You try to not think about it, but it's really difficult, and even now it's not easy. I spoke to my girlfriend already, she is destroyed! But I haven't spoken to my mother and Graziano. Now I will call them for sure. Especially Graziano."

Valentino Rossi - Yamaha MotoGP, Franco Morbidelli
Valentino Rossi - Yamaha MotoGP, Franco Morbidelli

Valentino Rossi meets with Johann Zarco after blame game

Reflecting on the apportion of potential blame in the incident, Rossi pointed the finger at Zarco immediately after the race.

However, while the Frenchman met with the nine-time World Champion privately to explain his version of events, Rossi reiterated how crucial it is to ride with respect towards fellow riders in such a dangerous sport.

"Now, everybody is very aggressive in MotoGP, and also in the small classes. I can understand it, but for me it's important that we don't exaggerate [the risks]," he continued.

"You need to have respect for the other riders because we can't forget that this sport is very dangerous. Especially in a track where you have long straights and you always go at 300 km/h.

"What I said is that also from the small classes, you have a lot of riders who close the door in the face of the others when braking. In Italian we say "frenare in faccia", to 'brake in the face'.

"Zarco was very wide, and he 'brakes in the face' of Franco, maybe to not let Franco overtake him back in braking. But he's too close, and when you are at 300 km/h you have a lot of slipstream, and Franco didn't have any chance to brake.

"At the end, there is a lot of risk. We risk a lot, especially me and Maverick. This was a potential disaster.

"I spoke with Zarco, face-to-face. I said this also to him. He said to me that he didn't do it on purpose. But anyway, aggressive is good, but braking in the face of the other riders, especially at 300 km/h is a potential disaster."

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