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.”

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.