WorldSBK Most: Rinaldi rages at Locatelli

| | WorldSBK
Picture: GeeBee Images

Aruba Ducati’s Michael Rinaldi completed a frustrating Saturday in seventh position having kicked off WorldsBK race one on the front row.

In the post race interviews Rinaldi is always unerringly polite, happy and takes any question given to him with good grace. But he had his own questions to ask after Saturday’s action, when he was almost pinged by an errant Pata Yamaha of Andrea Locatelli on the warm-up lap, then was barged out of the way into turn two by the same rider, who shortly after ran across the grass and rejoined in front of a chasing pack, which also contained Rinaldi somewhere in there, albeit lower than his front row starting place.

Rinaldi was quietly spoken but deeply unimpressed by paying a price in a race result of seventh.
“Actually, on the sighting lap, Locatelli made a huge mistake,” said Rinaldi. “In turn one, he almost crashed Toprak, Jonny, and me. That made me very angry, so I wasn’t maybe in the right mindset when the race started. Then again, Locatelli turn two made a really… He pushed too much for the second turn. I picked up the bike. If not, I crash.

“I lost, I think, four positions, something like this. So, that affects my start. Since there, I was with the mindset quite upset, so it was my mistake that I can’t handle that situation. I don’t want to complain about no one, but sometimes it’s better to use the brain because we are risking our lives.

“Then start a little bit the rain and was a little bit more confidence. Then I start to take my confidence eight, seven laps to the end, but it was too late. For sure, I’m upset. Nothing more to say. Just that this is not the race I want, especially in this moment of the year. I cannot change the past, so I will try to give all or nothing tomorrow because seventh place brings me nothing.

“So, tomorrow you will see 120 per cent from me. So I can say podium or gravel. You can write that. I will just give my 120 per cent. I try to respect all the riders, but apart from Jonny, Alvaro and Toprak that fight hard but with respect, I think the other riders – not everybody, but some riders - don’t give a fuck about you. Sorry for my language, but it’s true. If you watch the replay of the warmup lap, you understand why I’m saying this.

“I’m not a rider that complains” he continued. “If you listen to my interview, I never complain about anyone. But sometimes you have to talk, because it’s not the way of racing.

“Later I will go to Race Direction because I think they have to penalise him for what he has done.”

Strong words, and ones he had with Locatelli himself after the race.

“I spoke with him in the Parc Fermé, like I’m speaking with you. I don’t want to have problems with the other riders, but if they want to have a problem, I say no problem. He didn’t say sorry, and this is not good because if you make a mistake and say sorry, it’s okay. But if you try to justify yourself in such strange manoeuvre, I think you are not using the brain, for the second time.”

Locatelli, meeting the media not long after Rinaldi’s comments, said of the warm-up lap run-on right across the front of the rest of the riders turning in, “Nothing. I tried to brake, to take a reference for the first lap, for the first braking on the race, but I understand that I was a little bit more fast, so I released the brake and opened the gas. I tried just to take a reference for the first braking. Because I started from P8 and I do very well during the race, so I need to recover some positions so I need to understand where is the reference.”

He said of his conversation with Rinaldi. “Yeah. I think it is also correct the opinion of Michael, but also I want to try… He start from P3. I start from P8. In the end in the first lap, I was in front of him. So, I tried to understand where is the limit and where is the possibility to overtake, something, because today in the qualifying we do a really good lap time, but also was not good for me because I lose on the last sector. So, I can start from the P4 or P5, and then I was in the P8. So, I want to try to overtake something because we know that here we start very well, so this is my work.”

All the riders who saw the first incident gave opinions from it ‘being a bit stupid’ to ‘he should be penalised’, to which Locatelli said. “I don’t know. We can go see about Race Direction, if there’s an opportunity. I tried to understand when I see that I can go. I released the brake and opened the gas.”

At time of press no further action has been taken by the authorities.

Jonathan Rea was involved in the warm-up situation, but escaped like the rest. He said, “I didn’t see what happened, but I seen him come past. It’s kind of stupid. I think a penalty is a little bit much. It’s obviously a clear misjudgment from his side. I’m not sure he’ll do it again. I got a little bit scared, but a penalty is quite harsh. Maybe they should just talk to him. But, in the Supersport race one, did you see the first corner? It was a disaster. Aegerter went down. Nearly seven bikes crashed. Same thing. Somebody stupid coming in 20 miles an hour too fast, and everyone is stopping here. Everyone just needs to understand that these first corners, like here, like Monza, these stupid first corners. Nobody is fanned out, so it’s hard to point the finger only at the rider. It’s also the nature of the track encourages a hero to make six passes instead of just one. I felt like once I seen what he did in the warm-up lap, I wanted to turn around and tell everyone on the grid, as pole position rider, to calm the fuck down. Let’s get through turn one and start the race.”