With tensions rising at Magny-Cours on Sunday it wasn’t just the WorldSBK riders having their say on the Rea/Bautista drama.
The person in charge of the Ducati Corse WorldSBK project is the tall and usually media-shy Marco Zambenedetti. But to the surprise of all he came along to the post race media scrum and took the place normally reserved for the riders to underline how unhappy Ducati was about what they saw as a deliberate action from Jonathan Rea that took out Alvaro Bautista on Sunday in France.
“We think that the manoeuvre of Jonathan Rea was intentional and not a good example,” Zambenedetti confirmed. “And not in line of what is the spirit of this championship, especially from FIM, Jorge Viegas [FIM President] and what happened after Barcelona, last year, and what happened at the last race where we needed to give a certain message to the young riders to be more fair during the competition. Less aggression.
“Honestly, it’s not necessary. Maybe the sanction that has decided, by the stewards is not measured to the manoeuvre of the rider.”
Zambenedetti also gave his opinion about Rea’s Saturday race, when he was fighting with riders in points scoring position but being one lap behind. Some saw this as a black flag situation, many eyebrows were raised, for sure.
“I think that he tried to get some data for the race of today,” said Zambenedetti. “So, he decided to rejoin, but honestly, have simply no sense to disturb other riders that are doing their race. He must keep away and simply do his race, get the data, and next time better to repair the bike when he stops in the box.”
Ducati made some kind of protest on Sunday but as yet there has been no feedback about the issue. But Ducati also do not want the championship decided in the stewards room, or any place but the racetrack.
“Simply, I would try to avoid this direction of the championship, and just simply give a clear message,” the Italian continued. “It’s not what we expect. I think it’s absolutely in line, from what FIM is asking in the last two years. It’s not our approach to this sport. Of course, racing could be dangerous, but must be fair.”
Zambenedetti did not go to speak with Kawasaki after the race, explaining, “I think that the time to resolve these things on the penalty point of view must be inside the weekend. But if not, there must be a revision or some other action in a close timescale. The other thing, honestly, I don’t think that going and fighting inside the box is the behaviour that people expect… I just would like to help riders.
“The young riders must have a better example of how to approach the race. That’s all. I have total respect for everybody must do their job, and also Race Direction and the stewards and so on. But also riders must be sensible about what is the right approach to the race.”