Two main topics were discussed today during the journalists’ communication with the guest stars of MotoGP at Silverstone: the Long Lap Penalty for Fabio Quartararo and the drunken accident of Pekko Bagnai in Ibiza. What are they talking about at the British Grand Prix?
Bagna, Rins, Quartararo, and Ales Espargaro talked a lot with Jack Miller after a month and a half vacation, during which quite a lot of events happened.
First, the question was, has Fabio Quarararo’s attitude changed to everything that happened at the TT Circuit Assen? Let me remind you that there, trying to intercept the position from Alyosha Espargaro, Fabio rolled into the turn too fast and slipped when entering the arc. Crashing, he almost demolished Alyosha – knocked him into the gravel, from where the Spaniard got out, losing a number of positions. Continuing the race, Espargaro managed to make his way almost to the podium! He finished 4th, finishing behind his Aprilia Racing teammate Maverick Vinales. After the race, the Management decided to additionally punish Quarararo for his own mistake: on Sunday he will have to pass a Long Lap Penalty… The stewards felt that Quarararo’s mistake deprived Espargaro of a guaranteed victory – his pace was so crazy.
Quartararo easily survived the Stewards’ decision, although it will seriously affect his chances of competing for victory at Silverstone: “Our holidays have been slightly delayed, a fact. But my approach for the upcoming weekend will be the same as for everyone else. Yes, we will have to fulfill this penalization, but we will see what comes out of all this. This is a big challenge. I’ve never been particularly fast at Silverstone, either in Moto3 or Moto2. But last year I fought for the victory… until he fell. This is a technical track, it suits Yamaha. We will have to completely change the strategy for the race, that’s all… because of the long circle,” Fabio noted.
But his colleagues disagree with the Directorate. Even Alyosha Espargaro, whom Fabio so fucked up in Assen, believes that the Stewards overdid the decision.
Important: Ales Espargaro forgave Fabio for his mistake a long time ago, there are no questions about it, no hypocrisy or games.
“I had a great rest during the holidays, and although they were too long, I was not bored. But I admit, I can’t wait to get back on track! I am very motivated to move forward, more than ever in my life. I have a significant challenge in front of me, and I have accepted it… we can fight for the title now, can’t we? Furthermore, I see prospects and I will fight to the last for this chance,” said Alyosha.
And then Espargaro added: “But I completely agree with Fabio that he did not deserve this penalty. First, this year there were several examples of not too adequate decisions of the Directorate when the punishment either did not follow at all or was ridiculous for mistakes or aggression much more serious. At every meeting of the Security Commission, we discuss the question – where are the limits of possibilities and acceptable risk? And we can’t find the answer. Yes, Fabio could have tried to overtake me in another place, under different circumstances. But we talked to the Stewards. We told them: you should punish the same for the same mistakes and incidents! If unequal responsibility comes for the same mistakes, how can we, the riders, adequately assess our actions?”
Alex Rins of Team Suzuki Ecstar said: “I think there are two types of accidents. An example of the first type is what we saw in Assen: you try to overtake and lose the front wheel. And another type, like in Montmelo [with Takaaki Nakagami]. We are all interested in only one question: why was there no penalization for the Same in Montmelo? I do not know, no one knows. How to evaluate it? I don’t quite agree with how the Stewards decided about Fabio in this context, you know?”
Pekko Bagnaia experienced a similar situation in Qatar: “For all of us, the issue of penalization for Fabio is open, because we do not understand the motivation of the Stewards. In Qatar, I had almost the same situation when I fell almost like Fabio under Jorge. No penalty. And in Barcelona there was a huge crash, Taka did not receive any penalty for his mistake. We obviously disagree with the severity of the penalty decision for Fabio. For us, the drivers, it is also obvious that this is a race, and incidents are possible in the race because we are all fighting on the edge of opportunities to gain an advantage. After receiving this penalty, he is guaranteed to lose points in the race…”
Fabio then added: “I think we clearly need to spell out in the rules the difference between unsafe or dangerous driving and a racing incident, what they fundamentally differ in order to understand how the Stewards think and what they base their conclusions on. I don’t see any grounds for penalization in this situation with Alyosha. Yes, he lost his position, and yes, he may have lost a well-deserved victory. But we would like to find a balance between a situation where a penalty is necessary and a racing incident. For me, the main thing is that the decisions of the Stewards do not make our sport… too boring!”
Leaving for the holidays, Quartararo wrote on his wall on the social network: “Congratulations to the Stewards on a job well done! At Silverstone, I will do everything in my power to… do not try to overtake anyone, so as not to accidentally run into a new fine.”
And here is the second question that caused quite a tough debate in the Silverstone media center: what about the “drunk accident” that Bagnaia got into in Ibiza? Will there be consequences for the pilot? How did the team and Ducati rate it?
For example, in 2018, when Hector Barbera was stopped on the road by the police and “blew”, finding that the Spaniard was not completely sober, the team immediately fired its rider. Was this decision too cruel towards the athlete, or did someone call Sito Pons and instructed the team boss to arrange a show spanking so that other Moto2 and MotoGP pilots would not even think of getting behind the wheel after even a small drink?
What Bagnaia said in his defense: “No excuses… I have already said everything I wanted to say about this. But I think it has nothing to do with MotoGP, and cannot somehow compromise my approach to work in racing. For me, everything is simple: yes, I made this mistake, and I paid for it. Is it worth discussing further? I would prefer to think only about MotoGP at the moment. Thank you for understanding!”
For Bagnaia, another question is much more relevant: “I have 3 victories and 3 gatherings. Here’s what we would do to compensate for the lost points!? I really want to return the chance to fight for the title. Fortunately, we still have 9 races left. I need, at least, to finish each of them. It would be great to win them. But finishing is more important than winning. Sometimes you know in advance that you won’t be able to win the race, and in this situation, you have to think about how to bring the best possible result. Stability wins over everything else today.”