Rossi: Marquez protection of Lorenzo “embarrassing” for MotoGP

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Valentino Rossi has accused Marc Marquez of deliberately protecting Jorge Lorenzo during Sunday’s MotoGP title decider in Valencia to try and help the Spaniard win the championship.

Yamaha rider Lorenzo claimed his third MotoGP title after beating Marquez and Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa to the race win, having spent the entirety of the race holding the pair back.

Rossi charged from last position on the grid to finish fourth, but it was not enough to give him a tenth world championship as he finished the season five points behind Lorenzo.

Speaking after the race, Rossi once again accused Marquez of deliberately trying to stop him from winning the championship, claiming that the Spaniard could have passed Lorenzo had he tried.

“I think that after Motegi I had the potential to win the championship, but unfortunately from the race in Phillip Island something changed, and in these last three races we saw something that we never saw before in our sport,” Rossi said.

“I think that the situation was already bad, but today was embarrassing for everybody because it was unbelievable, the behaviour of Marquez is something very bad for everything, especially for the sport.

“It is something that nobody expects, because a Honda rider that made a Yamaha rider win and give the maximum just to push out his teammate is something that nobody expect and I think it is very, very bad news. Anyway, it is like this, we have to accept.”

Despite his evident disappointment after missing out on the championship, Rossi was pleased that Marquez’s actions in Valencia proved the accusations about collusion he made in Australia.

“I am happy because now everybody see what I said in Australia and I don’t understand the behaviour of Marquez, but sincerely for me it is very difficult to say something to him because I hope that he will understand what he did in these last three races in the future of his career,” Rossi said.

“For sure the Hondas were faster. We know that in the second part of the race Honda have a better potential but Marquez just protected Lorenzo like he did in Phillip Island and also Sepang.

“At the end I think that also Lorenzo [has] to not be very happy, as it is not a championship that was won on track.”

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.