Those expecting to see a showdown between Rossi and Marquez during Thursday's press conference will be left disappointed. Neither of the riders will in fact attend, in that #93 will meet with the press at 6.30pm and the Doctor at 9.30pm. So we'll have to wait for Friday morning, US time, when the pair will take to the track for the first free practice.
There'll be tension at Austin of course, even more so after the Spaniard's latest comments and the nine-time champ's Instagram post. Vito Ippolito has this to say “We don't like the fact that Marc's said he'll continue to ride as he always has – comments the FIM president during an interview with Italian publication Corriere dello Sport – just as we don't like Valentino's social media post in which he wrote 'a difficult race wrecked by a dangerous rider'. There's no need to stir up the fans. Both of them need to calm down”.
Ippolito sends a clear message to the two champions and also looks to the future: “We are working to refine the code, so that the riders feel there is an authority above them. They shouldn't feel that they are left to their own devices”. In the past, the FIM boss has been the first to point the finger against licences with points: “It was me who fought to abolish it, as you will recall it cost Rossi a last row start at Valencia. Having reached 4 points he was obliged to pay in the last race of the championship while in reality it would have been better to give him a ride-through in Malaysia. That rule takes responsibility away from the judge with automatic sanctions. Like the car licence with points. But ours is a sport, and the judge should decide on a case by case basis”.
The bikes will be back on track this weekend, but Ippolito will not attend the American event in the end: “I am constant contact with the FIM representatives and with Carmelo Ezpeleta, if necessary I will participate in the discussions”.