Moto Media
James Stewart

Lorenzo and Simoncelli spat after Estoril's qualifying

Matthew Birt from filed this report:

Reigning MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo became embroiled in an incredible war of words with Italian rival Marco Simoncelli during the post qualifying press conference in Estoril. The pair had a frank exchange of views after Simoncelli was questioned about comments made by Spaniard Lorenzo yesterday in Portugal.

Simoncelli has been widely criticised for his aggressive tactics and he’s had infamous spats with Andrea Dovizioso, Alvaro Bautista and Hector Barbera. Dovizioso blasted Simoncelli’s tactics as recently as the opening race in Qatar last month.

Lorenzo heavily criticised Simoncelli during his media debrief yesterday.

The pair clashed during the final round of 2010 in Valencia last November and yesterday Lorenzo had said: "I don't like the way he overtakes, he is too aggressive. I can't say anything negative about his speed, he is a very fast rider, a talented rider, but he is too aggressive and most riders think like me."

But today’s bust-up in front of a packed press conference made for compelling viewing as both were in danger of losing their cool.

Simoncelli started the heated debate when he was asked his reaction to Lorenzo’s comments yesterday.

The San Carlo Gresini Honda rider said: "I read something that Jorge said about my riding style but for me he said some wrong things. He said that last year in Valencia I passed him and he nearly crashed but this is not true because he was in front and he tried to pass me and he did a mistake and hit me."

"I had tyre marks all on my leathers from my leg to the shoulder so for me is not a correct example. Another thing, some years ago he was disqualified by Race Direction for his aggressive riding style so for me he has said the wrong thing."

Lorenzo then responded by saying he stood by his observations and the triple world champion said: "From my side yesterday I spoke the right words and for me it is not a problem if in the future nothing happens. We will see what happens in the future."

This clearly riled former 250GP world champion Simoncelli, who hit back by saying: "Yes, but you made a wrong example."

What followed was a very public spat between the pair and as the tension increased, Lorenzo became more and more agitated.

Lorenzo was at his most infuriated after he’d said: "In the future if something happens with you it will be a problem."

Simoncelli responded by saying he’d be ‘arrested’, a quip that provoked laughter inside the press conference room.

Waiting for silence to descend, Lorenzo had clearly been upset by the raucous reception to Simoncelli’s answer and he retorted by saying: "This question everybody is laughing but it is not funny because we are playing with our lives and riding at 300 kph and we are with bikes that are very powerful and very heavy."

"It is not mini-bikes. So it is dangerous sport and you have to think what do you do. I don't like to fight not clean. I injure myself a lot of times and I crashed into de Angelis in Japan and this was my fault he crashed because of my mistake. So from that moment I have tried to ride clean."

"I can make a mistake because I am human but normally when I am riding I think twice about things. It is one thing to play with your health but another thing is to play with the health of the other riders."

Lorenzo and Simoncelli’s rift comes just a day after Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi continued their bitter war of words, triggered after the Italian caused controversy in Jerez earlier this month when he collided with the Repsol Honda rider.