Bautista Fires Back
by staff
Friday, June 21, 2013

Alvaro Bautista sat back and listened to Valentino Rossi's barbed criticism of his riding earlier this week after the pair nearly collided for a second consecutive race at Barcelona, with Bautista crashing out of the race after their near-miss.

But Bautista retaliated at seven-time MotoGP World Champion Rossi on Wednesday at the Aragon test. Bautista said warmer track temperatures caused him to fall, not red mist because he was near Rossi and was riding over his head to try and beat one of the sport's superstars, as The Doctor claimed.

"I feel a lot less happy than him (Rossi) about it, I'm sure," Bautista told British media. "For sure, it was a big disappointment because I'd worked really good all weekend. I was happy before the race because I did a good qualifying and I felt too confident for the race.

"I was very careful in the first couple of corners, and I felt the riders in front of me were stopping me, so I decide to overtake them. Maybe the track was not like in the practice because after my crash a few other riders lost the front also, and the track was probably different. I didn't brake any harder than in practice or later, but maybe the track condition and tire temperature was the problem.

"I tried to stay on the inside because the other riders were on the outside line, and I just crashed. I tried to overtake him, and like normal, he didn't want to lose the position, so he keep side by side, and he was on the outside and I was trying not to go on his line. I tried to do my line because I didn't want to hit anybody but unfortunately I crashed."

Bautista also disagreed with Rossi's assessment that he needed a good tongue-lashing from Race Direction for careless riding.

"Many riders have done this before," Bautista said. "If the conditions were like in the practice, I would not have crashed. I was close to overtake him, and the most disappointed rider about this is me and not those who didn't crash. Everybody is free to say what they think, but I just concentrate on the track because that is the best place to speak."

It's a measure of Rossi's diminishing power on the track that riders who aren't World Champions or even race winners are willing to respond to criticism by one of the sport's demi-gods. And as many have pointed out, Rossi wouldn't have the problem of racing near riders he considers to be reckless peasants if he qualified higher on the grid.


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