After his mistimed pass on Alex Lowes in the first WorldSBK race at Jerez, Jonathan Rea had already explained the situation after the race itself – but it was several hours afterward that he received his sanction from the FIM stewards.
He had to start the Jerez Superpole race on Sunday from 19th and last spot on the grid, after also dropping one position to finish fourth - not third as he finished - in Saturday’s race, and had to take it on the chin.
“We were forced to accept the decision, as we had no right to appeal,” said Rea. “I have to accept this in the black and white. If I had not made this move Alex would not have crashed. But the sad part is that I am a racer and my racing instinct was to make a cut back and go to the gap but unfortunately we came together and he went down.
“It was something which is real racing, no malice in it. I felt I could put my bike in that gap and get away with it. The punishment does not fit the intention. It was racing and in racing we create a precedent and all in the past, this manoeuvre in this corner has not been actioned at all. And now this crash itself is an example.
So I hope that the FIM can be consistent now, because we have a new guy in the Jury now in the FIM. I understand the position, he was under huge pressure from the Yamaha team manager. I am really, really sorry how that race ended up, and I have to accept the penalty.
“I finished fourth and looking at Mikey’s pace and Alvaro’s pace it was a very good race because I could not do too much more, to be honest. I just have to accept it and move on but I hope deep down inside, that from a human point of view, I would not make this move.
“But I am a racer, a four-times World Champion, and I want to make this move again. If I see a gap, I am a racer. I hope this kind of sanction… I feel it is taking a little bit of spark and I need to build step-by-step my confidence to put that spark back.”
When asked if he was surprised that the Yamaha team put in a protest and then it was upheld by the FIM, Rea said, “Well, yeah. Race Direction had reviewed the race, after the results were under investigation. They agreed and confirmed the results.”
But then the result was revised by the FIM Stewards, and Rea received his sanctions. “It is strange, really strange, but I have to accept it,” said Rea. “We were in the meeting, very calm, and there was nothing to say really. I cannot argue the facts, because the fact was Alex lost his race through contact because I tried to make a move.
But this is racing, and I had no bad intent. I do not have form for this kind of behaviour, but Alex aside, and what happened aside, the whole thing was a little bit pantomime. I want to forget about it because I texted Alex directly on the mobile phone, because I heard he was outside the track, to smooth the water, and I got a text back directly. Of course through frustration he understands from a racer point of view he has been on both sides, receiving and giving, so it is racing.”
After the clash and crash between Melandri and Davies in the final race of the weekend, Rea was reminded that there was another example of a similar situation at Jerez. “Maybe Gerry Bryce (FIM Steward) will put Melandri to the back of the grid,” said Rea.
Indeed Melandri was duly given a penalty to be implemented at Misano, and in the Superpole Race not the first race longer race. He will be made to drop six places from where he qualifies - not go straight to the back of the grid as Rea was required to do.