Jorge Lorenzo’s factory Yamaha team boss Wilco Zeelenberg believes the decision to relegate Alvaro Bautista to the back of the grid for this weekend’s German Grand Prix is fully justified.
Bautista was given the grid penalty having been found guilty by Race Direction of riding in an irresponsible manner after he wiped out Lorenzo in a controversial collision at the first corner of last Saturday’s Dutch TT at Assen.
Lorenzo escaped injury in the accident but a brand new YZR-M1 engine was destroyed and he heads to the Sachsenring now level on points with Repsol Honda rival Casey Stoner, who won the Assen race ahead of team-mate Dani Pedrosa.
Zeelenberg said a sanction for Bautista was necessary to act as a future deterrent and he told MCN: "I think a punishment is justified. Jorge could have been badly injured and he was really angry and he told Alvaro he thought he should have a penalty.
"We are very disappointed and it is obvious that Alvaro made a huge mistake. He braked way too late and he was very tight on the inside of the corner. He said he would never have made the corner and without hitting Jorge he would have gone straight.
"Alvaro said it was only a small mistake and it might have been but it had a big influence. You know from eighth on the grid you can maybe pass a couple of guys going round the outside but not on the inside.
"To do it on the inside means you are taking a lot of risks and when you are trying to pass a guy who is already in the middle of the track it is not clever to do, especially when you know those guys will close the door. If those first three were all tighter together than all of them could have gone out.
"Alvaro and Jorge were talking and he clearly apologised and admitted he had made a big mistake. He said he wished he had crashed alone but it wasn’t the case. It is important to show that actions like that don’t go unpunished.
"Jorge is not injured but we pushed a lot in those first six races to get that 25-point lead and now we are back to square one. And we are missing an engine because the throttle got stuck open."
For more from Lorenzo and Bautista on the first corner collision, see the July 4 issue of MCN.