Marco Simoncelli and Hector Barbera´s respective paths have crossed frequently –both literally and figuratively- over the past two years in the 250cc class and their latest confrontation has led to some fierce condemnation on the part of the former.
Fines had been handed out for kicks, warnings laid down for blocking manoeuvres and some degree of forgiveness expressed by both riders after a big collision at Mugello, but any truce between the Italian and the Spaniard appears to have been comprehensively ended after the `battle of Misano´. Simoncelli crashed during his home race shortly after a fierce duel with Barbera, which had led to both running off track.
`I don´t think that Barbera is a rider –he seems to be nothing more than a criminal,´ were Simoncelli´s damning words to motogp.com in the aftermath of the latest butting of heads between the two. His rival had previously stated that Simoncelli `could have killed´ him at the Italian round of the quarter-litre series.
`The fact that we both ended up off the track indicates to me that he wasn´t even trying to make the corner. I think that either he doesn´t realise what he is doing or, worse still, he is aware of it and is a jerk,´ continued Simoncelli, citing an earlier incident between his nemesis and Mattia Pasini as further evidence. Pasini was left furious and demanding that sanctions be imposed after his own DNF-inducing tangle, something that the Polaris World rider described as `not the first time that Barbera has acted this way; totally unacceptably.´
Series leader Simoncelli joined in the call for action to be taken, particularly aggrieved at his own reception of a `yellow card´ back in June.
`I was punished at Mugello when I had done nothing wrong, when Barbera had been behind me and pressuring me. At the end of the day, it was me who received the warning. I sincerely hope that a similar process is taken for what happened at Misano.´
Simoncelli currently heads the series by 26 points, and in any eventuality will stay in the category for 2009 after confirming that he had turned down offers to move up to MotoGP. With Barbera also onboard for next season, more sparks could fly before Simoncelli departs for the premier class.