The 250cc race at Mugello turned into the usual thriller, with close-fought racing all the way to the flag. The passes were mostly the kind of robust hooliganism we have come to expect from the 250 class, but one move in particular went a little too far. On lap 11, while dicing for the lead with Alvaro Bautista, Marco Simoncelli exited Casanova and tried to dive up the inside of Bautista going into the Savelli corner. It was a move that was never going to be successful, but it didn't prevent him from trying the move anyway.
As Bautista cut back towards the apex of Savelli, he found Simoncelli right in his blind spot, and Bautista smashed into Simoncelli's fairing. Even worse, the collision had unbalanced both riders, and they both ran wide and off into the gravel, handing the lead of the race over to Mattia Pasini, Simoncelli rejoining 5 seconds behind Pasini, and Bautista over 9 seconds behind the leader. Both men were lucky not to have fallen, a testament to their skill and a reward for all the training both men do on motocross bikes.
The incident was serious enough for Race Direction to decide immediately to investigate the matter, and after hearing testimony from the two riders, Race Direction decided to punish Marco Simoncelli with a fine and by issuing the Italian with a warning, meaning that if he tries anything like this again, he could face suspension for one or more races.
The incident does little for Simoncelli's repuation at Mugello. Last year, the Italian swerved violently down the front straight, causing Hector Barbera to clip Simoncelli's fairing with his front brake, catapulting the Spaniard up the straight at over 250 km/h. Simoncelli received a warning for that incident too, and a year later, he is punished for a similarly harebrained move. Perhaps this time Simoncelli will have learned his lesson.
The text of the decision issued by the FIM is displayed below:
"On Sunday 31st May, during the 250cc race, rider Marco Simoncelli (ITA) rode in an irresponsible manner, causing danger to rider Alvaro Bautista (SPA), which is an infringement to the Art. 1.21.2 of the 2009 FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations. The Race Direction has decided to penalize rider Marco Simoncelli with a warning as to his future conduct, which means any further incident of the same nature this year may result in a suspension and to impose him a fine of USD 5,000.
No appeal has been lodged.
The decision of the Race Direction is final."