Bodyguard not needed in Rossi's backyard, says Marquez

Reuters News
Posted: May 20, 2016 5:16 AM

(Reuters) - Spanish rider Marc Marquez says MotoGP has gone too far in providing bodyguards for himself and compatriot Jorge Lorenzo as protection from Italian fans at rival Valentino Rossi's home grand prix this weekend.

Honda's two times world champion Marquez had a headline-grabbing feud with Yamaha's Rossi last season after they clashed on the track in an incident that sent the Italian great to the back of the grid for the deciding race.

Nine times champion Rossi then spoke of a 'Spanish stitch up', accusing Marquez of helping Yamaha's Lorenzo to win the title.

The spat became so intense before the final race in Valencia that the governing International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) intervened, saying it was poisoning the sport.

The Mugello circuit, which hosts the sixth round of the season, is usually a sea of tens of thousands of Rossi fans and series promoters Dorna had laid on extra security for the Spanish riders.

Marquez and Lorenzo both said it was not needed inside the already secure paddock but Marquez, speaking to Spanish reporters, went further.

"Since I got to Italy all I have been asked for has been autographs and photos," he said. "When I left the motorhome I found someone who looked like a bodyguard. I thought 'it can't be'.

"When I got to the garage, they told me that Dorna had considered it wise to give me a bodyguard. I told them no, I want a normal atmosphere. I have faith in this sport, where the atmosphere is healthy.

"I will have the normal security that I have at all circuits but I don't want bodyguards. It's unnecessary and I don't want motorcycling to reach this point. It's dramatizing something that isn't that big."

Lorenzo leads Marquez in the championship by five points with Rossi third and 12 off the pace.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)