WSBK » 25 July 2013
WSBK boss responds to wet weather criticism
Javier Alonso: We accept constructive criticism, but not senseless ones. Melandri has never come to us to talk about safety, the only one that has, has been Carlos Checa...
World Superbike manager Javier Alonso has hit back at criticism over claims the World Supersport Championship race at the Moscow Raceway shouldn't have been started, following the tragic death of Andrea Antonelli.
Organisers have come under scrutiny in recent days following Antonelli's death in Russia, the Italian succumbing to serious injuries when a fall on the opening lap of the WSS race saw him collected by the following Lorenzo Zanetti, who was unsighted in the spray.
The WSS race began just a short time after an unpredictable WSBK race, which had started dry before descending into drizzle and finally heavy rain over the course of the 25 laps. With regulations stipulating that riders must change tyres – rather than bikes – in the event of a wet race, most riders waited until the conditions were treacherous before switching the treaded rubber so as to negate the significant time lost in the pit lane.
Despite going on to win the race, Marco Melandri would prove vocal about the conditions afterwards, drawing parallels with a race at the Nurburgring in 2011 when his and then team-mate Eugene Laverty's protests to red flag the race were ignored for several laps.
“I complained strongly after 2011 Nurburgring but many people said [it] was just to make rumours... So disappointed for today...,” he wrote on Twitter after Sunday's race
“I remember it well,” Laverty duly responded. “Two years later and same situation. We shouldn't need tragedy to make the message clear.”
However, according to Gazetta dello Sport, WSBK boss Alonso has taken exception to these and other comments by Melandri, suggesting he did not go out of his way to make his feelings felt at the time, adding the only person in the WSBK and WSS race to raise a concern about safety was Carlos Checa.
“I have no idea what was going on in his head,” Alonso said. “We accept constructive criticism, but not senseless ones. Melandri has never come to us to talk about safety, the only one that has, has been Carlos Checa. Under the heavy rain Melandri won the Superbike race improving nine seconds in just six laps over his team mate. He can't say he wasn't able to control his bike.”
Similarly, Carmelo Ezpeleta insists the standard procedure in these situations is for riders to make their feelings known on the warm-up lap, suggesting the conditions were no more untoward than at previous wet weather races, such as Silverstone and Assen in 2012.
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