Sylvain Guintoli has apologised to Marco Melandri after causing the collision that eliminated his Aprilia team-mate from the second race in Portimao and hampered his own World Superbike title aspirations.
The Frenchman was attempting to overtake Melandri for second place as they closed on Jonathan Rea for the lead in rainy weather conditions, but the pass into the dipping left-hander at turn five would instead see the two come together.
Sending both riders down and Melandri out of the race entirely, Guintoli remounted to launch a remarkable fight-back that would take him all the way back past main rival Tom Sykes for seventh, limiting the damage to his title hopes having finished second to the Kawasaki rider in race one.
Despite this, Guintoli was disappointed not to have recovered more ground in the circumstances having looked on course for at least a podium and was apologetic to Melandri for forcing him out.
“In race one I tried to take advantage of the first signs of rain,” he said. “I was feeling good and had a good pace. But when conditions returned to normal the gap behind Sykes was too big and I had to settle for second place.
“In race two both Marco and I were clearly faster than our rivals, but unfortunately on turn five Rea braked really early and I tried to go up the inside. Marco was on the outside and I lost the front end on a bump which took us both out. I'm really sorry for him and for the team. We had a good result within our grasp. It was simply race contact and unfortunately in these conditions it's easy to make a mistake.”
Team manager Romano Albesiano – who rarely provides a post-race comment - also played down the incident between his two riders, perhaps as an attempt to avoid the verbal fracas that followed the Tom Sykes and Loris Baz's collision at Sepang, claiming he is proud of his riders' efforts to go for victory.
“That's how racing goes. We paid for the desire to win of two great riders. These things happen and obviously it's a shame because we could have brought home a great result and completely reopen the championship. The good thing is that we showed how fast we are thanks to the great work the entire team is doing.
“They took on a difficult situation in the best possible way, once again confirming how very competitive we are. The results achieved in Race 1 prove it, as well as Marco and Sylvain's extraordinary comeback in Race 2. We will definitely be protagonists in the championship through to the last race.”
06 Jul, 2014
WSBK Portimao: Guintoli ‘really sorry’ for Melandri take-down
Sylvain Guintoli expresses an apology to Aprilia and Marco Melandri after colliding with his team-mate during the lead battle at Portimao.