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Barbera: `Simoncelli could have killed me!´

Barbera: `Simoncelli could have killed me!´

Hector Barbera pulled no punches when questioned about his Mugello collision with Marco Simoncelli, going as far as to claim intent on the Italian´s part.

`I´m sorry for him, but happy for myself.´

Those were the words of Marco Simoncelli in the immediate aftermath of his collision with Hector Barbera, an incident that ended the latter´s chances of a race victory. Stronger declarations were, however, fired in Simoncelli´s direction by the seething Spaniard, who accused him of deliberately hitting his brake lever at the start of the final lap.

Barbera, who escaped unhurt from the incident, gave a damning appraisal of his rival and accused him of an `unsporting and illegal manoeuvre´ at Mugello, expressing the belief that Simoncelli deliberately caused the crash.

`He knew that my bike was more powerful than his, and I suppose he thought that the only way that he could win was to get rid of me,´ said the Team Toth rider, who was slipstreaming his rival and looking for a second 250cc victory on his 100th Grand Prix appearance.

`He opened his leg when he felt my slipstream, hit my brake lever and from then I just started spinning. It doesn´t seem to me to be a very legal move, and the team have been watching the video to see if there is evidence to fine him. He could have killed me.´

It is not the first time that the duo have come to blows, with a long-running feud between the two Latin riders taking place throughout 2007. Simoncelli was previously criticised for lashing out at Barbera with a kick in Sachsenring, during free practice for last year´s German round of the World Championship.

Both have also exchanged barbs and gestures with other riders on the quarter litre grid; most recently, Red Bull KTM´s Mika Kallio complained about a similar move from Simoncelli in Portugal, casting doubt as to the legality of his slipstream-blocking tactics. Barbera had a confrontation with Alex Debon at Jerez as the veteran pulled his countryman up on some hard moves.

Coincidentally, this year´s 250cc race finish was reminiscent of that of 2007, when Alvaro Bautista´s hard move forced Jorge Lorenzo into a late fall when battling for the lead.

250cc, 2008, Hector Barbera, Marco Simoncelli, Team Toth Aprilia, Metis Gilera

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