Jorge Lorenzo believes Valentino Rossi was too aggressive toward him in their battle for the podium in the Japanese Grand Prix.
The two Yamaha riders made contact twice during a fraught struggle for third place in the closing laps at Motegi. They swapped places four times before Rossi secured the final podium spot ahead of his teammate. Lorenzo argued that Rossi risked jeopardizing Yamaha's title prospects had they come together.
"This was a big battle between Valentino and I, two warriors with the killer instinct," said the Spaniard. "I have to say that at some points I do not think he was completely fair, we were both on the limit but some of his moves were maybe a bit too much and he touched me and pushed me wide when I don't think it was right.
"We are teammates, I am fighting for the riders' championship but we are both fighting for the teams' and manufacturers' championship as well and we have to remember this."
Wilco Zeelenberg, team manager for Lorenzo's side of the split Yamaha operation, agreed that Rossi should have been more circumspect when racing with Lorenzo given the Spaniard's championship position.
"Of course, the end of the race was exciting, but Jorge is a winner and even with the situation with the championship he was never going to give up on the final podium spot easily," said Zeelenberg. "It was a great battle between the two strongest riders in the world but they are teammates and Valentino took too many risks and touched Jorge a couple of times, which should not have happened when Jorge is fighting for the championship."
Lorenzo added that he understood that the dice had made great entertainment for fans, but that he felt the situation was becoming unsafe.
"The show is great for the business of motorcycling – people enjoy it and that's fantastic," he said. "But when you're a rider, and you're riding a MotoGP bike which does 300kph on the straight and in the corners 200kph or 180kph, and you are feeling that the other rider is touching you, it's not a beautiful feeling or a good emotion because you know you are putting your life at risk in this moment.
"There were three or four moves I made on Valentino that I thought were correct and fair. Instead his movements were legal but a little bit on the limit from my point of view. I think it's the way he likes to fight. It happened with [Sete] Gibernau, then with [Casey] Stoner and now with me. Maybe in the future his rivals will get a little bit mad and will act like he usually does."
Lorenzo said he was not at his maximum pace in the Motegi race due to a handling issue and the decision to stick with Yamaha's old spec engine and save the newer, more powerful unit for later in the season.
"We chose to ride with the old engine to be safe and then I wasn't getting the best feeling from the front tire, so things weren't perfect for me," he said.
With his sole title rival Dani Pedrosa in a hospital in Barcelona following surgery on his broken collarbone, Lorenzo is highly likely to clinch his first MotoGP championship at Sepang next weekend, as he now leads Pedrosa by 69 points with 100 still available – and the strong possibility of Pedrosa missing at least one of the remaining rounds.
"We are very close to getting our dream and I really hope we can do it next weekend in Sepang," said Lorenzo.