Danilo Petrucci says Scott Redding is entitled to feel angry after the Pramac Ducatis clashed on the first lap of the Grand Prix of Aragon, but claimed issues with his GP15's engine braking were the cause of the incident.
The Italian clashed with Redding at turn twelve at the beginning of the 23-lap race, which not only contributed to his team-mate's fall, but also led race direction to penalise Petrucci with a ride-through penalty.
As a result, neither Pramac Ducati scored points and whilst Petrucci said he found it difficult to stop his machine in the corners prior to the incident, he was nonetheless apologetic for the incident that ultimately ruined both riders' races.
“It was a difficult race,” said the 25-year old. “Sincerely on the first lap I tried to brake hard but my bike doesn't stop. When I tried to pass Scott I go side by side with him and I don't think we touch very hard, but he goes wide. Then after the kerb he loses the steer. It was not a crash of my fault, but it was my fault that he go wide.
“For sure if I didn't go inside him he wouldn't have crashed. I'm really sorry for him. I don't want to make an explanation. It was my fault. Sincerely, I don't know why he crashed after the kerb because he turned the head then lost the steer. But after a full laps I go always wide. Then they give me a ride-through penalty.
“In the same moment my software asked me to reduce the power, lower every lap. Less power, less power, so I think we got something strange. For sure I'm very sorry to let Scott crash. It's the second time this year. It never happened in the previous years. After Austria with Eugene, this time was the first lap. I'm very sorry.
“He's very angry with me. He's right because I ruined also his race. Anyway, when we got all the power in the last laps it was quite good. But my race is finished on the first lap with the contact with Scott.
“He's very angry. He only said, 'Thank you' but he was being ironic. Later I tried to say sorry, tried to explain that it was not completely my fault but for sure the result is I ruined his race and my race. I'm worried about this.”
Asked to expand on the engine braking issues that he felt contributed toward the incident, Petrucci was unable to pinpoint a cause, stating “some problems on the grid” were a possibility.
“Sincerely, I don't know what happened. On the fourth lap my bike asked me to go with the lowest power so maybe we had some problems on the grid. We weren't able to download the data of the sighting lap.
“Maybe I got some problems. At the end, when I go with less, less, less power the bike was quite good. But I think I've got two litres of fuel in my tank. I don't know, at the moment I feel really bad for Scott. I'm really sorry.”
Redding felt the issue of engine braking was not a viable excuse, saying, “The bulls**t about an engine braking problem, of course he's going to say that. He's not going to say, 'OK, I made a mistake.' If you had an engine brake problem then why didn't he take one step back? It's the first lap of the race.”
For race director Mike Webb, handing Petrucci a penalty was a straightforward decision, considering the Italian knocked Eugene Laverty off at the final corner of the Austrian Grand Prix just four races ago.
“The crime was irresponsible riding causing a crash,” said Webb. “It wasn't the worst incident I've ever seen. He tried to pass. It didn't work. He punted his teammate off. It was one of those passes where at no time was he in front. So he got alongside him and made him fall off.
“The trouble was Petrucci's already got history this year of contact causing a crash. So that makes it, if you like, a much easier decision, it's not 'well, we need to review it' or whatever. No, he's now twice caused a crash through contact. So a ride through straightaway was the logical penalty.”
Both riders are locked in an inter-team battle to decide who receives a third Ducati GP17 for the 2017 season. The recipient will be the rider that scores most points from Brno to Valencia, with both men allowed to cancel their worst results. In that battle Petrucci leads Redding by 19 points.
Meanwhile the Italian, who admitted to suffering some memory loss after being hit by Pol Espargaro's Yamaha on Saturday, said that did not contribute to Sunday's incident.
"Sincerely I lost the memory for ten minutes... It was quite strange to be on the bike, after two days at the same track, and not remember which corner I was at. But then I relaxed a little bit and today I feel good. For sure the mistake was not a consequence of yesterday, it was my mistake."