Rea calls out Rinaldi for riding with ‘bad intentions, he’s got red mist’

Following his controversial battle with WorldSBK series leader Alvaro Bautista in race two at Magny-Cours, Jonathan Rea has hit out at the Spaniard’s team-mate Michael Ruben Rinaldi after the pair were involved in their own tussle that resulted in contact on several occasions.
Michael Rinaldi Ducati, Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Magny-Cours WorldSBK
Michael Rinaldi Ducati, Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Magny-Cours WorldSBK

One of the more chaotic races not just in recent WorldSBK history, but also from an individual sense for Rea, race two at Magny-Cours saw the six-time Superbike champion involved in two heated fights with both Ducati riders.  

Following his mistake under braking for turn 14 which resulted in him riding into the side of Bautista, Rea was then immediately attacked by the championship leader’s team-mate Rinaldi at turn 15. 

A lunge under braking, Rinaldi made slight contact with the Kawasaki rider before an even more aggressive move took place one lap later.

After Rea had responded with a move into turn five, Rinaldi lunged to the inside of Rea - again at turn 15 - this time taking his foot off the foot peg and using Rea to make the corner. 

It resulted in Rea being pushed to the outside of the track as Alex Lowes and Scott Redding also came through. 

Angry about the moves Rinaldi attempted, Rea said: "I haven’t spoken about how Rinaldi reacted after [his battle with Bautista], in the race. Passing me, taking his leg off to kick me. 

"He ‘lost the foot peg’? Three times? He lost the foot peg three times? He dive bombed me three times with bad intentions! 

"This is how these guys ride. He’s got red mist, riding with a lot of emotion."

While Rinaldi was extremely aggressive throughout race two, the Ducati rider produced one of his best rides of the season. 

After taking the lead with a brilliant double overtake on Axel Bassani and Toprak Razgatlioglu, the Italian remained in contention with Razgatlioglu until the final few laps. 

Regarding the intense racing with Rea, Rinaldi chose to focus on the Kawasaki rider and his maneouvre on Bautista which he called ‘too much’. 

"It’s a very important podium for my future," added Rinaldi. "The team, Ducati and always support me; they gave me the opportunity. They are always with me but sometimes, it’s easy to criticise. 

"My opinion on the incident is, and not because I’m a teammate to Alvaro, but this manoeuvre at the beginning of the race is not something you can do. 

"Maybe if you’re fighting for the victory on the final lap and a touch happens, you can understand, even if – like this – it’s too much."

Is WorldSBK becoming too aggressive?

Alvaro Bautista and Jonathan Rea, French WorldSBK race2, 11 September
Alvaro Bautista and Jonathan Rea, French WorldSBK race2, 11 September

While the racing is spectacular in WorldSBK and arguably the best of all the major championships, especially when it comes to battles at the front of the field, weekends like Magny-Cours highlight how such close racing can go the wrong way.

Rea’s attempted move on Bautista looked to be more out of desperation as he’s now without a win in 13 races, not because of any ‘bad intentions’

The same goes for Rinaldi, who is visibly riding at the limit as he tries to keep his place in the factory Ducati team for 2023. 

In reality, there’s not much that can be done to stop riders making contact, especially for those who are battling for a world title. 

And considering how intense racing has been over the last two seasons in particular, it’s a credit to the riders that not more incidents have happened, showing that WorldSBK is in a great place. 

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