Bengaluru, August 17: MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi said riders needed to improve their behaviour and show more respect after he and Monster Energy Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales narrowly escaped being struck by two crashed bikes at the chaotic Austrian Grand Prix in Red Bull Ring on Sunday (August 16).
The nine-time world champion was left shaken after Franco Morbidelli's cartwheeling Yamaha, travelling at around 300 km/h flew across the track just centimetres in front of him.
Morbidelli and the Ducati of Johann Zarco had collided just seconds before the riders slipped through an early turn at Spielberg on lap eight. Both were unseated in the race won by Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso.
Zarco's Ducati also bounced across the track and came desperately close to hitting Rossi as well as Vinales, who was just ahead of him.
"It was very scary. All four riders, but especially me and also Maverick, were very lucky," Rossi told Yamaha MotoGP.
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The 41-year-old said that while being aggressive was good as everybody tries to do the maximum, caution has to be there.
"But for me we don't have to exaggerate, because we need to remember that this sport is very dangerous."
Rossi added, "You need to have respect for your rivals, especially at a track where you're always going at 300km/h."
The Yamaha rider questioned the manoeuvring of Zarco, who, he thinks went wide in braking, slamming the door on Morbidelli, a protege of Rossi's rider academy, VR46, who had no chance to brake.
"We were very lucky, but we hope this type of incident is a lesson for riders to improve their behaviour in the future," Rossi said, hinting that Zarco would be facing even more scrutiny had there been a casualty.
"I spoke with Franco, he's okay, he's trying not to think, but when he thinks, he too feels scared.
"What makes the difference on this occasion is that nobody got hurt, all riders are okay, so this changes the situation.
"If something bad had happened, it would've been completely different."
Monster Energy Yamaha Team Director Massimo Meregalli praised both Rossi and Vinales for showing resilience and determination to resume after such a horrifying near-miss. Rossi finished fifth and Vinales 10th in the race which was re-started with grid positions based on the standings as on lap eighth.
"Valentino didn't let any of it faze him, and he got down to business as usual during Race 2," he said.
Vinales is third in the 2020 FIM MotoGP World Championship with 48 points, 19 behind the leader Fabio Quartararo with Dovizioso eight ahead of him. Rossi is fifth, 29 points adrift of Quartararo.
The Red Bull Ring will be the venue for the next round of the MotoGP as well with the Styrian GP set be held on August 23.