Valentino Rossi has spoken of his disappointment after crashing out of his home Italian MotoGP due to an opening lap incident with Alvaro Bautista.
Rossi, starting his first Mugello race for Yamaha since 2009, looked capable of a podium challenge, despite being left seventh on the grid in qualifying.
Clutch problems at the start then put Rossi at the tail of the top ten as he exited the first turn, before riding around the outside of Bautista through the following left hander at the top of the hill.
Rossi was almost a bike length ahead by the exit, but the pair clashed as the Spaniard accelerated his Honda towards the approaching right hand turn.
Bautista said that he was unaware of Rossi's presence on the outside
, but the Italian felt the Gresini Honda rider may have made a botched attempt to defend his position.
“On the second corner I was on the outside of Alvaro and I think Alvaro opened the throttle to close a bit the line, so that he doesn't lose position. But I was already in front, so he just come into me. He say that he don't see me. It's possible,” shrugged Rossi.
Bautista fell instantly following the contact, while Rossi was also knocked off course, tumbling in the gravel trap then slamming into the protective trackside barrier with considerable force. “I was lucky because it was a bad crash and I arrived at the wall, but I'm ok," said Rossi.
After an investigation by Race Direction, the clash was declared to be a 'racing incident'.
Seven time MotoGP champion Rossi was undefeated at his home event from 2002-2008. His first DNF since returning to Yamaha this season means he has now dropped to sixth in the standings after 5 of 18 rounds.
“We will try next week in Barcelona, but it is a pity because firstly it is Mugello and secondly I think we could have done a good race and maybe arrived on the podium. But that's racing,” Rossi added.
Team-mate Jorge Lorenzo won the race.