Marco Simoncelli defended himself against a renewed barrage of criticism after he was involved in a controversial incident in yesterday’s Le Mans MotoGP race that left Dani Pedrosa with a broken right collarbone. Simoncelli and Pedrosa were contesting second place on Lap 18 when they collided on the entry to the second chicane.
Trying to overtake on the outside, Simoncelli cut in front of Pedrosa and with nowhere to move, the Spaniard clipped the back of the San Carlo Gresini Honda RC212V machine.
Pedrosa was sent tumbling out and broke his right collarbone as he rolled over a raised curb on the opposite side of the track.
Simoncelli though stayed upright but was penalized with a ride through penalty that dropped him second to fifth as his search for a maiden MotoGP podium continues to the next round early next month at the Catalunya track near Barcelona.
The 24-year-old said: “I am unhappy about what happened because a result that was within my reach was denied and above all because of the fact that Pedrosa is hurt. In my opinion the incident went like this Pedrosa was having a bit of difficulty. I had pulled alongside him and passed him on the previous three laps. When he passed me back I was not intentionally trying to resist, and my telemetry shows that I got on the brakes at the same point as the previous laps. I think that he had hit the brakes well before the corner, and I found myself on the outside of him and in front on the entry to the corner. I didn’t want to back off, so I left him with a meter between myself and the curb in order to go in. I saw that it was tight, so I tried to adjust my position. That was when he touched my back wheel and went down. I repeat, I am unhappy about it, and I want to avoid any controversy regarding the penalty, but I believe that my ride through was a result of all the talk over the past few days.”
Valentino Rossi Blames Simoncelli
Even nine-time world champion and Simoncelli pal Valentino Rossi can’t give his Italian comrade a pass on the Pedrosa maneuver.
Valentino Rossi conceded that Marco Simoncelli’s overtake during the French MotoGP race that left Dani Pedrosa with a broken left collarbone was too aggressive. Rossi has been a staunch supporter of his close pal in recent weeks as Simoncelli has come under attack for his hard riding tactics. But nine-times world champion said he had watched TV replays of the incident on Lap 18 of yesterday’s French Grand Prix, when Simoncelli and Pedrosa tangled entering the second chicane.
Factory Ducati rider Rossi, who scored his first podium for the Bologna factory in an dramatic 28-lap race, said: “I saw the problem between Marco and Dani just one time on TV, but for me I think this time Simoncelli was too hard. He didn’t leave any space for Dani. So he comes from the outside and maybe he was braking harder, but maybe a bit too aggressive because Dani didn’t have any room to do anything. I think it’s also a mistake because I think Simoncelli in that part of the race was stronger, so if he doesn’t overtake Dani at that braking point he can overtake him on the next lap.”