Simoncelli Meets Race Direction, Expresses Regret, Admits Error Of His Ways

The penultimate chapter in the Simoncelli-Pedrosa saga (the closing chapter of which will see Pedrosa return to racing, either at Silverstone or more likely at Assen) has now been written. Marco Simoncelli has met with Race Direction to discuss the events of Le Mans, which saw Simoncelli and Pedrosa crash, injuring the Spaniard and the Italian awarded with a ride-through.

Afterwards, Race Direction issued a statement summarizing the contents of the meeting. Race Direction questioned Simoncelli about his view of the incident, to ensure that he understood the error of his ways, and that he would try to avoid a repeat of the situation. Simoncelli avowed that he had had time to think about the situation, and that he had come to see he had made a mistake, and that his statements directly after the race were a result of his emotions running high after the event. In short, Simoncelli did exactly what was asked of him, bowing to pressure from Race Direction.

The statement was one part of a general attempt to calm tempers down in the paddock. In the pre-event press conference, Jorge Lorenzo repeatedly called for calm from the Spanish fans, who had been displaying some very frayed tempers in the free-for-all of internet forums and Facebook groups. The situation did not need to become exaggerated, Lorenzo said, emphasizing that now that Simoncelli had accepted responsibility for his actions, he felt the situation was now history.

Below is the official press release from Race Direction:

Statement from the MotoGP Race Direction

Grand Premi Aperol De Catalunya

Circuit of Catalunya, Thursday June 2nd. 2011.

The Race Direction composed of Paul Butler, Race Director and IRTA representative, Claude Danis, FIM representative, Javier Alonso, Dorna representative, and Franco Uncini, IRTA Riders Safety delegate today met with San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli. Also present was San Carlo Honda Gresini Team Principal Fausto Gresini.

The purpose of the meeting was to give all the parties the opportunity to discuss the incident at the French MotoGP in Le Mans that resulted in Marco Simoncelli being penalised with a ride through penalty and to draw a line under it.

The Race Direction informed Simoncelli that they wished to ensure that he was aware of his mistake and to avoid any repetition in the future. Simoncelli responded that in the interval after the French Grand Prix he had had time for reflection and regretted the statements he had made in the heat of the moment immediately after the Grand Prix. He also recognized that he had made an error of judgment and stated that in future he would try to evaluate situations better and be a little more cautious.

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... I'm a bit saddened by the back pedaling. I feel that Sideshow Bob was in the best position to avoid the crash, but it was Dani out of shape going into the corner that failed to hold his line. Browbeating racers into backing down from passes would suggest that exciting racing is not what the organizers are actually interested in.

Like others have said, not much choice... like the child who is scolded and promises that they will never do wrong again - it's the course of least resistance. But then whether they do really change...

Either way I'm happy to see this whole ordeal get left behind, I mean it was so blown out of proportion. Now to sit back and see SuperSic continue with his super-fast riding and some well deserved podium finishes.

The other thing I'm disappointed in with Race Direction is that they still seem to think the ride through penalty was deserved? What a bunch of clowns - that is the one thing that everyone universally agrees on - that they should have made the decision after the race once they had talked with the riders involved and track marshalls etc. then impose a time penalty.

Political pressure on both sides - Race Direction issues the ride through, Simoncelli says he's sorry. Not much to be said now anyway except to keep calm and continue racing.

In this case, Sic has a very possible chance of standing on the podium, therefore I think a ride through is logical. Imagine what Rossi would say if that day turns out to be Stoner, Sic and Dovi, but Sic was given a time penalty after the race and Race Direction told Rossi "Congratulations! You actually got the Ducati on the podium now that we find Sic was very reckless and we gave him a 10 Sec penalty after watching all our footage."

If they imposed a time penalty after the race they can be 100% sure of making the penalty such that Sic would be off the podium (and as an added bonus they get to consider all the available facts and viewpoints).

However if another rider had crashed out ahead of Sic there was the very real possibility that he would still be on the podium. Can you imagine it! They would not be able to add another penalty. If such a thing happened I would just be laughing so hard and cheering for him.

I'm not sure what the process would be... maybe only have 2 finishers on the podium and award points for 3rd later on. But it still seems like a rash decision. You can't say it's a bad thing to thoroughly examine all angles when handing out a decision that has such an effect on the race.

Race Direction fed Simoncelli his gruel, and he told them how delicious it tasted.

Another invertebrate who is willing to sell his soul to the political machine for fame and fortune.

All of the fame and most of the fortune are possessed by the man who has been unrepentant, uncontrollable, and above-the-law since he threw a leg over the NSR500 in 2000.

However I have not seen that man pull the moves that Simoncelli has. Leveraging room from the inside is one thing. Swiping off noses is something altogether far more dangerous. People seem to forget the potential repercussions in this sport. Pedrosa got banged up and has all but lost what was a excellent title chance 2011, all due to over zealous riding, but as we should all know far worse things than broken collarbones have occurred in this sport.

Invertebrate? A motorcycle racer - ha ha, hardly. Perhaps due contrition on reflection and real pragmatism.

I'm not debating the penalty. I'm one of few people who thought the penalty was not sufficient.

Race Direction can penalize the riders, and the riders have to serve the penalty whether they like it or not. But to insist that a rider must like the taste of the penalties and the flavor of the officiating is to embrace the kind of megalomania that fueled the medieval Catholic church. Demeaning authoritarianism belongs in the middle ages regardless of RD's intentions. I'm not keen to see the Spanish Inquisition resurrected in MotoGP.

I really don't like to oversimplify sport into a battle of egotism and willpower, but when RD signal that they will pursue their agenda at the expense of Simoncelli's dignity, the snowball was pushed down the hill. They felt they had the power to go after Simo b/c Simo is not well liked by the riders and he has a history of misdeeds. That kind of weak opportunism should have been met with a hellfire RD never wanted to deal with. Revisit Tomizawa. Use inflammatory language like Spanish Inquisition. Watch RD pucker and shrivel. Wait for Aprilia to show up with a multimillion dollar contract.

Rossi has punted Spaniards at their home tracks with complete impunity. He has forced companies to supply him with tires, and he has even overtaken people by leaving the boundaries of the track. Stoner rides around punching people. Lorenzo complains about dirty riding while fairing bashing others. Dani has Emperor Puig to protect him when he smashes into his championship-leading teammate during the penultimate round of 2006. The powerful riders in GP pay their fines, and then they tell Race Direction to go fly a kite.

Simoncelli should have observed history.

We are in complete agreement with where 100% fault lies in Simoncelli's maneuver also. But the whole Spanish inquisition bit is storming the Bastille over the top.

Pedrosa on Hayden. You Americans really need to get over that one. Yes it was a mistake, and a bad one, but it was a racing incident. Pedrosa was in with a sniff of the title himself & he immediately expressed his contrition. Hayden won the title and I'm sure he's moved on. Oh and just what power does a riders manager have? None I'd suggest.

I'll grant you that Rossi seems to get a soft touch from race direction, but that's hardly his fault, and he tends to be under more camera scrutiny than most other riders, that might get away with the yellow flag passes unnoticed. Stoner thumped, not punched, one bloke, not in a race and took his medicine - again not a recurring theme as you suggest. RdeP was far more dangerous than Stoner with that one. The only truly questionable move (possibly malicious) I've seen from Rossi was his brake check on Stoner at LS08. The corkscrew he just cocked up. I though he rode a brilliant race up until he sent Stoner off track.

And finally, what the hell is wrong with race direction having a quiet word with a rider? It was Simoncelli, Gresini and RD. Not lights, camera, action. It's the media and us that have given the event more coverage than it deserves. RD wanted a word with Simoncelli precisely because of his history of berm riding and nose spite'ing. Surely you agree the man needs to calm down?

Me thinks you're on your Dorna evil empire (and it seems all involved in running the circus by association) soapbox again Phoenix.

My intimation was more those that have repeatedly (by dint of the party involved the majority of such comments come from the States) trolled out the Pedrosa wipe out of Hayden as some sort of counter point to Simoncelli's actions.

I guess when your employer browbeats you into it you don't have much of a choice; your only other option is to stick to your guns and be out of a job. Sic's contract is up after this year, I'm sure he doesn't want to end up on a Ducati (can you imagine that? Think of the epic high-sides!) It's sad, really, and it happens in all professional sports. Athletes are no longer allowed to have an opinion and God forbid they question the sanctioning body's authority. No personality allowed.

Hopefully now we can move on to some racing.


I was once ordered to safe driving school for riding my bike an outrageous 81kmph in a clear 60 zone.

It was one of the few times in my life where I kept my mouth shut and sucked it up.

I'm left to wonder where the driving push is coming from in this witch hunt. A certain manager I will presume. It took me a long while to get over Dani's brainless dumping of Hayden in his championship year. I would say we are back to zero.

It will be most interesting (in a perverse way) to see how race direction handles further incidents this year.

Simmo playing 'humble pie' before race direction. Really,what was he supposed to do?. You can't teach an old dog new tricks. On Sunday,should he opportune a way to get a win or podium,he will go for it and the hell with anyone in his way.
Race direction is one thing,on track is in the helmet. Simmo is not an old dog in terms of years,but his GP pedigree is cast in 'barnstormer' mode. I don't see it changing much. Friend and foe don't want to race alongside him.
He will temper with age,but right now...mmm.
I can almost picture him targeting Dovi and Casey as obstacles to dispose with,
providing he doesn't dispose of himself first as evidenced 2011.
I'm ambivalent about this whole issue. On the one hand,his 'red mist' move is to be deplored,not by virtue of the move itself,rather in terms of the race and championship potential.All he had to do was dispatch Dani,cleanly, a few corners later.On the other hand,Dani's attempt to fight back immediately does not fit with his tried and true way of winning races.
Race direction should have brought Rossi to book many times past in terms of present Simmo.
Personally,I can't wait for the Rossi/Simmo showdown wherever and whenever it may happens and it will. Patience I guess.

I think there's a salient point being missed here.

If Simo backs it down from 11 to 10, he'll become a threat as far as finishing positions go.
Right now he's more of a physical threat to himself and others.
Most important of all, I hope *he* realizes that.

I like seeing him go fast, and challenge the 'aliens'.
I don't like seeing him throwing the bike in the kitty litter.

An excellent point. This is one of many mistakes this season that have left Simoncelli in 13th place with just 11 points as of round 3. Had the outcome of this incident gone another direction and left Simoncelli on the ground he would be sitting in 15th. Hardly a place for such a fast rider on a factory bike.

The divisions are set and everyone has decided their own opinion of fault in the incident at Le Man but I think we can all probably agree that if Simoncelli can follow the instructions he has been given he will almost certainly find himself far further up the results charts.

I totally agree. At the moment Simoncelli is a potential race winner and a good bet for a podium but until he develops a hefty dollop of racing nous he'll never figure at the sharp end of the points table at season's end. Getting that first win monkey or even the podium gorilla off his back may help calm his impetuous nature. Here's hoping.