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GP Week : Issue 115
WITH the season just three races old, tensions have boiled over in the MotoGP class, with a double exchange of insults at the Portuguese GP between high-profile front-running riders. The first war of words involved Rossi and Stoner, with the Italian letting it all out in a Friday tirade in which he accused his Australian rival of holding a grudge that goes back to their epic race at Laguna Seca in 2008, where Rossi pulled some spectacular passing moves to claim a memorable win over the defending champion. The trigger to the fresh outburst was the crash at Jerez, where Rossi took both of them down and Stoner was unable to restart. Stoner gained most of the sympathy, even after saying to Rossi on TV: “Your ambition outweighed your talent”. He also wondered in public whether Rossi’s shoulder injury was a contributory cause to the Italian’s misjudgement. On the eve of the Estoril weekend Stoner tried to explain his comment. “I didn’t say that he had run out of talent – just that he ran out of talent at that corner.” But for Rossi the damage was done, and as soon as he had the chance, he responded. “In the last period he has said a lot of bad things about me and my team, and speaks about things he doesn’t know about.” Stoner had suggested, he said, that he had left Yamaha for financial reasons, because of the money Yamaha were paying to Lorenzo. “He speaks about my shoulder like he is the first doctor in the Melbourne Hospital of Shoulders. He doesn’t know anything about it. “I can say nothing about Jerez because I made a mistake. I would have been more happy to crash alone, but I hope Stoner never makes a mistake like that in his career. “He said before the first race that I am an impolite rider, and I am not. He said it is scary when he is on the track with me. “ Why? Just because in the battle of Laguna Seca he lost. That was an epic race, and one wins and one loses. He cannot pass this moment ... cannot accept that loss.” Stoner responded the next day: “For me it’s quite funny to see him react. If he takes it like this, it’s good for me. He obviously considers me as a rival, so let’s do the talking on the track. We know he’s a great champion, but he has to admit his mistakes.” Lingering injury spoiLs tests for some But Simoncelli bounces back 14