Jonathan Rea once again took a desperate and rude step, knocking Alvaro Bautista out of Sunday’s World Superbike race at Magny-Cours. For this action, the Directorate immediately fined Rea with a Long Lap pass, which did not significantly spoil the Kawasaki pilot’s race (he became 5th at the finish). Rea explained the reason why he made a “mistake”. Bautista and Ducati don’t believe a word of it.
“I’m really sorry for what happened, but there was not the slightest malicious intent in this mistake,” Rea said after the race. – I want to clarify. Not the slightest. It sounds like, going into turn 12, I thought: now we will enter the turn, and I will take out that guy. No. This is not the way I usually fight. When we went into a turn, bent down for a turn, and then straightened up, our lines converged. At some point, on a bump, my bike straightened out a little more than usual. I didn’t see Bautista at that moment. I offered him my apologies, and now I suggest turning the page.”
Marco Zambenedetti, the Ducati Corse manager responsible for World Superbike, was the one who went to the Directorate for a showdown after the incident: Alvaro Bautista was deliberately deprived of the advantage of one of the strongest drivers of the race, he could not earn points, and the Long Lap was obviously insufficient punishment for Rea for “mistake”.
“Something happened that we could hardly have expected from a 6-time world champion,” Zambenedetti said. – But our rider still left the track, earning important points [on Saturday], and although this dangerous maneuver deprived him of an advantage, each side has its own view of the incident.
I think it would be better for [our rivals] to concentrate on improving their bike so that their pilot does not have to resort to such maneuvers in the future. It was too dangerous, a disgusting example for young riders. This should not happen again.”
Alvaro Bautista called Rea “not a real champion”, commenting on his behavior in the race after the race:
“Do you think this is a mistake?! Ha-ha-ha!.. He was looking for ways to get past me, but he couldn’t, and he took this dirty step… That’s not how great champions like Rea should behave – they don’t make such “mistakes”, no. He knew exactly what he was doing. He saw that he was fast, he had options. He won here last year, but I don’t think a real champion should allow himself such maneuvers. But he’s not a real champion if he acts that way. Champions don’t behave like that.”
“We went to the Directorate to discuss his maneuver, they said that the pilot had already been punished – he was given a Long Lap… But my race was completely destroyed by this attack. No, it wasn’t a mistake. Of course, we are completely disappointed with both his action and the decision of the Directorate,” Alvaro Bautista said after the race.