Controversy erupts into a war of words.
Toprak Razgatlioglu’s double win was overshadowed on Sunday by the controversial collision between six-time world champion Jonathan Rea and current series leader Alvaro Bautista. The battle for championship points has been fierce this season, with Rea taking out Bautista in Race 2 of the WorldSBK Magny-Cours round in a dramatic Turn 14 incident.
Alvaro Bautista and Ducati were convinced that Jonathan Rea’s hit, which knocked Bautista off in Race Two, was a deliberate act. Ducati WorldSBK Technical Director Marco Zambenedetti even came into the media debrief room to make an announcement to that effect in the most public way possible.
Among other things, Bautista said: “I think he knows very well what he did. He knows very well that he gets what he wanted to do. So, for me, no. I don’t have nothing to say to him. I think he saw today that he’s very fast. He won last year, last few years, not as much as before. But I think this kind of action is not proper from a champion. So, he won many championships and it’s unacceptable a manoeuvre like this coming from a rider like him. For me, he saw that he is very fast. He’s very brave. But he’s not a real champion because this kind of thing, a champion never does.”
Zambenedetti chipped in separately with: “In the end, the rider gets some points in the championship by pulling out, with a very dangerous manoeuvre, one of our riders. It’s something that I really don’t expect from a six-time world champion. I think it’s better if they concentrate to work inside and give to the rider a better package, so he doesn’t need to arrive to this manoeuvre. It’s simply dangerous and not a good example for all the young riders in the category.”
Jonathan Rea did not see the clash in the same light as Ducati, saying: “I’m really sorry for that because that was really not my intention. I want to make that clear. There was zero bad intention. I think from the other side with emotions hot and everybody after the race, it sounded like it was in my brain before the corner. I didn’t think at turn 12, “Right, I’m going to put this guy down.” Not at all. It’s not the way I ride. I went down the inside and parked my bike and unfortunately we came together. I have been to see him. Offered my apologies and tried to give my point of view. I listened to his point of view. So, for me that’s turn the page now.”
Alvaro Bautista still has a lead of 30 championship points over Toprak Razgatlioglu, leaving Jonathan Rea trailing a further 17 points behind.
The next round of the FIM World Superbike Championship will take place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain 23-25 September where Ducati and Yamaha have shown dominant speed in past years.
- Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 332 points
- Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 302 points
- Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 285 points