Jack Miller believes Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez need to end their “immature” feud, rekindled by their contact during the Grand Prix of Argentina a fortnight ago.
And he wasn’t shy in serving up a reminder of the tragic consequences of letting it escalate, citing a similar incident in MotoGP’s not-too-distant past.
Thursday in Austin was the first time the two combatants faced the media en masse since the incident — but not in the official press conference. Instead, each addressed the media alone in their team’s hospitality units.
Marquez remained steadfast in maintaining he had simply made a mistake, unwilling to be drawn back into the controversy of Rossi’s allegations that he deliberately tries to force riders to submit or crash when passing them, and that he is “destroying” the sport.
Equally, Rossi said his feelings hadn’t changed, but: “it is better to look to the future.”
All the riders are scheduled to gather at the usual Safety Commission meeting on Friday at the Circuit of The Americas, where they will be addressed by Dorna chief Carmelo Ezpaleta.
But regardless of potential changes to the way riders are penalised or how stewards address on-track incidents, Miller said the sport needs to do a better job of managing the fallout between riders after the heat of combat.
“I think they need to control it a little bit better the fighting inside the paddock,” Miller said.
“We are here to race motorcycles and we are here to fight but the fight should generally try to stay on track and not try to fight so much in the media.
“I think that is one of the clearest things. There are a lot of people coming — the journalists especially — coming at you trying to get you to say something to mess up and I think it’s not the correct way.
“I understand everybody is looking for a great story and wants to get as many views as possible, but sometimes it’s not the right way and it’s also bending the truth and making other people look bad.
“The fighting I think should stay more on the track and of course us riders we have to be careful with what we say because words can be twisted as we’ve seen many times before.”
Miller drew a parallel with the increasing divide between Rossi and Marquez the way the dispute between the sport’s top riders and Marco Simoncelli unfolded in 2011.
Simoncelli was publicly criticised by rivals, in particular Jorge Lorenzo, for the aggression he used in his passing moves, culminating in contact with Dani Pedrosa at Le Mans which left the Spaniard with a broken collarbone.
Although the young Italian began tempering his riding, his career was tragically cut short in a fatal accident at that year’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
“I’m seeing this situation unfolding with a lot of people and people picking sides,” Miller said.
“I just want to refresh people’s memory of Marco Simoncelli and Dani Pedrosa and how that ended.
“We are all here racing and risking our lives and I think for these fans and also riders to fight against each other, I think it’s quite silly and immature.
“They are quite old and they have to remember life is short and we are risking our lives here.”
Source: Fox Sports