Race Direction responds to Dani Pedrosa criticism

By Matthew Birt -

MotoGP

 08 July 2011 13:38

Race Director Paul Butler has responded to criticism from Spanish rider Dani Pedrosa over the handling of his controversial collision with Marco Simoncelli in Le Mans.

Pedrosa was left with a broken right collarbone and his 2011 world title hopes in tatters when he was involved in a collision with Italian Simoncelli during a battle for second in France back in mid-May.

The Repsol Honda rider made his long-awaited return to action in Mugello last weekend and after attending Friday’s Safety Commission meeting, the triple world champion stayed behind to confront Race Direction members Paul Butler, Franco Uncini, Claude Danis and Javier Alonso.

Pedrosa’s main gripe was he felt the ride through penalty imposed on Simoncelli in Le Mans was far too lenient having called for a minimum ban of two races.

He told MCN: “What Race Direction is saying is that full contact is permitted. If you want you can touch another rider and nothing happens. This ride through was nothing. This is something ridiculous.

"It is obvious that he doesn’t learn. It is obvious that Race Direction can’t supply a good safety when he is riding close to you, so you must look after yourself. Race Direction can’t give me the safety I need, so I must look after myself.”

Speaking to MCN, Race Director Butler said Pedrosa should now move on from the Le Mans controversy and he said: “Dani expressed his opinion and he is entitled to that. But as far as we are concerned we dealt with that incident.

"Obviously Dani had a lot of time to think about it but we made our decision and we also followed up on that decision by meeting Team Gresini and Marco in Barcelona, which we felt was important. Ever since then I believe they’ve done their best to draw a line under it. I don’t think it is very sensible of Dani to continue to be frustrated.

"We are always saying in briefings that the riders should concentrate on the track and not on personal feelings. Race Direction has to make judgements that some people won’t consider black and white but we want people to race.

"I seem to remember there was an incident in Estoril in 2006 and there had to be a judgment there at that time. But that seems to have been forgotten because it is never raised. Saying he will protect himself is not a very smart thing to say.

"The basis of all discussions with riders is they have to respect one another and if they have a problem they should take it up with each other in the paddock and not on track. I don’t believe he meant that to be honest.”