CASCAIS, PORTUGAL, APRIL 28 - Four weeks after Ducati Marlboro's Valentino Rossi knocked down Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner the wounds are still raw.The incident that took place during the rain-hit Spanish GP at Jerez dominated the pre-race press conference for this weekend's third round of the MotoGP World Championship in Estoril, Portugal.Stoner got most of the questions and did most of the talking, and his position hasn't evolved. Rossi made a mistake, Stoner was knocked down, he got no help in restarting his GP11, and he had to abandon the race, while Rossi motored home with an impressive fifth place.The behavior of the corner workers will be reviewed by race direction on Friday, the first day of the Estoril weekend, though no penalties have been discussed.Asked if he'd changed his opinion since the incident, he answered with his own question: "What was my opinion in Jerez?"

Told he wasn't "very happy for the crash," he said, "Yeah, like I said, it definitely... I don't blame anybody. Like somebody asked me yesterday if I was going to return the favor to Valentino [Rossi]. And Valentino did this by accident, it was not on purpose."When the race ended, a still helmeted Rossi walked to Stoner's pit to apologize. Stoner could be heard saying that "Obviously your ambition outweighed your talent. And, Stoner added, "there was also a lot of people misinterpreted what I said. And I said that Valentino ran out of the talent. He hasn't run out, he ran out. So this was in one point. He made a mistake and he ran out of the talent."In these next races it's going to be a completely different situation and [that] wasn't the best situation for us, but for sure I was not happy with the marshals. This was the bigger problem. To have one marshal helping me and to try and start the bike at one point would've been something. But not to even complete 20 meters more of the race was a big disappointment and this is something that doesn't go down so well with us."Earlier he'd said that it "definitely wasn't the way we wanted to start the championship. We thought we were doing everything perfectly and trying to do the best job we could, trying to get as many points as we could, and unfortunately it didn't work out that way. When there's favoritism, I don't think it's correct, not for myself, but I know a lot of other riders that I spoke to after the race as well that had the same problem with the marshals, that weren't able to help, they weren't willing to give any help out."Stoner said he wouldn't attend the meeting - it wasn't clear if he was allowed to - though there are issues that need to be resolved. He said the team had made a change to the RC212V that would make it easier to re-start in case there was another incident. And he also said that marshals should use common sense when deciding how much assistance to provide."Definitely there are situations where it's not clever for them to be pushing the bike when it's on the track and there's riders still coming past," he said. "But there's also a moment where you're by far the last rider on the track where there's a moment, I think, the help could be needed and used."Rossi was asked far fewer questions and had less to say. His take was that, "Unfortunately, I had a good chance to make good points, but I made a mistake and I lose a lot of points for me and also for [Casey] Stoner. I had a good pace in the wet, but unfortunately sometimes it happens like this."

 


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Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.

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