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Ducati expects further punishment for Rea after Bautista clash

Ducati has suggested it expects Jonathan Rea to receive further punishment for his clash with Alvaro Bautista in the final World Superbike race at Magny-Cours last weekend.

Alvaro Bautista, Aruba.it Racing Ducati, Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing Team WSBK

Alvaro Bautista, Aruba.it Racing Ducati, Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing Team WSBK

Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Kawasaki rider Rea was at the centre of controversy at the French track after colliding with Bautista’s Ducati at Chateau d’Eau on the second lap of the race while trying to pass for second behind eventual winner Toprak Razgatlioglu.

The move put Bautista in the gravel and out of the race while Rea was able to continue after serving a long-lap penalty, eventually finishing fifth.

It meant Rea was able to gain back 11 of the points he had lost to Bautista earlier in the weekend with his crash in Saturday’s opener, which was entirely unaided, with the gap between the pair now standing at 47 points with five rounds to go.

In a rare interview with the official World Superbike website, Ducati technical director Marco Zambenedetti echoed the opinions of his rider Bautista, calling Rea’s overtaking attempt “dangerous” and a poor example to younger riders.

He went on to state that the punishment of a long-lap penalty was insufficient given that Rea was still able to finish the race and take points off Bautista.

“We do not expect a six-time world champion to use this kind of manoeuvre,” said Zambenedetti, “especially as in recent years everybody is trying to give the best message to the younger riders to have more fair competition and less aggression on-track. 

“I respect what the stewards have decided [long-lap penalty], but we think that the message [sent out], the sanction given to Jonathan is not commensurate with the manoeuvre he used. Young riders are forced to resort to this physical way to race. 

“I think the sanction must be much more. Finally, he finished the race fifth, he gained some points in the championship with respect to Alvaro. This is not what we expect, and we expect to have some more sanctions in the next races for Jonathan.”

 

Zambendetti went on to clarify that he agreed with Bautista’s assessment that Rea’s move was a deliberate act.

“I am totally in line with Alvaro, and I think everyone that has seen the TV is in line with Alvaro’s analysis,” he said.

Rea himself responded to Zambenedetti’s remarks, calling the accusation that he hit Bautista on purpose “quite an uneducated and disrespectful thing to say”.

The Ulsterman continued: “Race direction have a lot more and harsher penalties that they could apply during the race: double long lap, triple long lap, black flag, ride-through penalty. 

“I accept their point of view, [but] it's their point of view. It's not mine. I don't have to speak anymore trying to prove my innocence. 

“I'm racing hard for my position. There was a racing accident and it happened. I took a penalty. I have to take that penalty on the chin because I can't turn it back and do the race again, so I did my long lap penalty and I continued on with the race. 

“It's unfortunate they think like that, but it's not reality.”

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