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Marquez insulted by Rossi claims after MotoGP title decider

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Marc Marquez feels insulted by Valentino Rossi’s claim that he deliberately held back and did not pass Jorge Lorenzo for the lead of Sunday’s MotoGP championship decider in Valencia.

Marquez spent all 30 laps of the race closely tailing Lorenzo, with the gap at the front rarely exceeding 1.5 seconds.

In the closing stages, Marquez closed onto the back of the Yamaha rider, but did not attempt a pass, leaving him second at the end of the race.

The result ensured that race winner Lorenzo clinched his third MotoGP championship, denying Rossi – who had charged from last on the grid to fourth at the flag – a tenth title.

After the race, Rossi once again accused Marquez of helping Lorenzo to win the championship, saying that his actions were “embarrassing” for MotoGP.

Marquez responded by claiming his only opportunity to pass Lorenzo came with four laps to go, but that he could never draw close enough.

“We lost a lot under acceleration and braking and it was too far,” Marquez said. “The only place where we could close on Lorenzo was in turn five or six. With four laps to go I tried to pass, but I was cautious.

“With two laps to go on the back straight I knew it would be tough, we lost time and Jorge was able to open up a half second gap. I tried to recover it in the last lap, but it wasn’t enough.”

Marquez was booed on the podium by a large pro-Rossi crowd, and although he understood their frustration, the Spaniard said that he felt insulted by the Italian’s claims.

“On the podium I felt strange – what can I say, there were some boos,” Marquez said. “It’s complicated for a rider, of course, but I have a clear conscience and so do my team too.

“We tried the maximum; we have given one hundred percent in every race. We have struggled to get the maximum points possible and wanted to end the year with a victory. It was not to be, but hey, in the end I didn’t want to see a world champion booed.

“It is clear that the words of Valentino to his fans will weigh a lot. Valentino has won with charisma throughout his career and he is the benchmark for any rider.

“For me, for a rider with a winning mentality, telling people I did not want to win a race is an insult because whenever I go out I go to win and do the best job possible.”

Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have 10,000 fans for IndyCar races

Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have crowds for its NTT IndyCar Series race weekend next month, the first time fans are allowed at the track this year.

The track announced Friday that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed in the grandstands daily from Oct. 1-4. The IndyCar Harvest GP race doubleheader will be held on the track’s road course Oct. 2-3.

IMS has played host to several events this year without fans, including the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 and a NASCAR-IndyCar weekend July 4-5 that included the Brickyard 400. Plans originally were made to have fans at the Indy 500 before reversing course a few weeks ahead of the race. In a letter last month, Roger Penske vowed that fans would return for the 2021 Indy 500.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS president Doug Boles said in a release. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

Fans will undergo temperature screenings upon entry and also be required to wear face coverings at all times on property. The track said each attendee will receive a mask and bottle of hand sanitizer.

The Friday, Oct. 2 race will be shown at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, and NBC will broadcast the Saturday, Oct. 3 race at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Here’s the release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 – For the first time in 2020, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome fans to the Racing Capital of the World for the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR weekend. Up to 10,000 spectators can be in the grandstands each day of racing action Oct. 1-4, per approval from the Marion County Public Health Department.

Tickets are available now via IMS.com and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

The massive facility, which holds more than 300,000 people, will provide two spectator zones with up to 5,000 fans in each. The zones will be located in Turns 1 and 4 of the oval, offering strong sightlines of the road course. Strict health and safety rules will be in place, including the following:

  • Face coverings must be worn throughout the property at all times;
  • All fans will receive temperature screenings before gate entry;
  • Grandstand seats will be marked for distancing;
  • Attendees must use pre-assigned gates and remain in their designated zones.

Global Medical Response, the world leader in compassionate, quality emergency medical and patient relocation services, will be the presenting sponsor of the penultimate weekend of INDYCAR racing this season.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

The plan, which includes each attendee receiving a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer upon entering the track, was developed in consultation with state and local health officials.

This event weekend is highlighted by an NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader, with races Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3. It will be the penultimate event of the series’ season as the field pursues the champion’s prestigious Astor Challenge Cup to be awarded Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The INDYCAR Harvest GP will pay tribute to a storied IMS event, the Harvest Classic in September 1916. The Harvest Classic was the only racing event held outside of May at IMS from 1911 through 1993. The event featured three races, all won by legendary driver Johnny Aitken.

Fans also will see a host of facility improvements during the event weekend, including more than 30 new LED video boards, refreshed concession stands and restrooms, and 5G wireless connectivity throughout the facility.

The first race will air at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, Oct. 2 on the USA Network. NBC will broadcast the second race at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Oct. 3, with WTHR-13 airing the action live in Central Indiana.

Also racing that weekend will be the first pairing of two major sports car series — the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and its North American counterpart, GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Former Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ryan Briscoe is among the drivers in the Indianapolis 8 Hour event held Sunday, Oct. 4.

The event also will showcase drivers in SRO America’s Pirelli GT4 America, GT Sports Club America and the TC America series.

The full on-track schedule is available at IMS.com.