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MotoGP British GP

Quartararo: Penalties must improve to stop MotoGP getting "boring"

Fabio Quartararo believes MotoGP’s stewards must better define racing incidents and irresponsible riding after he was given a long lap penalty for the British Grand Prix after his Assen crash.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team, Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing crash

The reigning world champion and current points leader crashed while trying to overtake chief title rival Aleix Espargaro early on in June’s Dutch GP, and was later handed a long lap penalty to be served this weekend at Silverstone.

He later raged against this decision on social media and said he would stop trying to overtake to avoid punishment, as he took aim at the consistency of the stewards.

This was followed by a statement from Yamaha also questioning the penalty, with a number of riders on Thursday at Silverstone defending Quartararo.

The Yamaha rider says he has not changed his mind on the punishment and believes MotoGP is at risk of becoming “boring” if the stewards cannot find “a balance” in how it judges incidents.

“I don’t want to say something about the previous crash because there was no penalty,” Quartararo said. “Of course, after the crash of Barcelona, that was massive, I understand they want to change a bit the rules that they need to be more aggressive.

“But I think we need to find a balance between irresponsible riding and a racing incident. Of course, I know I crashed and Aleix could have made a better result.

“But I don’t see that as a penalty. But just [as] they need to find the balance between penalty and no penalty, this is the main thing to not make our sport boring.”

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Suzuki’s Joan Mir says he doesn’t understand why Quartararo was punished for what he feels is a clear racing incident, while Jack Miller wasn’t for wiping out the 2020 world champion in Portugal.

“I don’t understand the penalty,” Mir said. “But after the race, I didn’t see the incident and I didn’t want to think so much about the incident, but when I saw what happened I couldn’t believe it, because Fabio was just trying to make an overtake, then, this is racing, he lost the front.

“He didn’t want to crash. What is the difference about what make Miller to myself in Portimao, what is the difference?

“The difference is that Miller crashed, I crashed, Aleix didn’t crash, and they penalise Fabio and they don’t penalise Miller?

“I cry for that action. I say this action because this is the one in racing that I have. Every weekend there is one incident like this or more, probably. So I don’t understand this punishment.”

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing leads, Takaaki Nakagami, Team LCR Honda and Alex Rins, Team Suzuki MotoGP crash, Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team behind

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing leads, Takaaki Nakagami, Team LCR Honda and Alex Rins, Team Suzuki MotoGP crash, Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team behind

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Other riders also brought up MotoGP’s stewards not giving Takaaki Nakagami a penalty for his multi-rider collision at the start of the Catalan Grand Prix when defending Quartararo.

“I’m fully agree with Fabio in the sense that he is not happy and he cannot understand the penalty,” Aleix Espargaro added. “We’ve seen different examples during this year in more aggressive [moves] than his and there was no penalty.

“If you give a penalty on that case and then you give a penalty to Fabio, I think Fabio would understand and carry on.

“But all the riders in the safety commission are pushing for the same [thing], trying to make it equal for everybody because if one day you penalise and one day you don’t penalise it’s difficult for us to understand.

“I think we will keep riding aggressively, we will keep doing our races.”

Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team

Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Honda’s Pol Espargaro believes Quartararo’s penalty was “another bad decision from race direction”, but feels in general collisions must be punished to set an example to younger riders.

“As we all complain about this situation in the safety commission, I understand it was the right choice,” Pol said. “About overtaking, we have seen overtaking every time, and if you can do an overtake, you will not crash.

“When you are overtaking and you are crashing, it means that you couldn’t do that overtake. So, it’s a big mistake, you know, so you need to pay for it.

“I understand Fabio is pissed off with this, but it’s the only way to avoid this kind of thing, especially in the last laps where everything counts, you can go in and throw the bike inside and if you crash, nothing happens.

“No, it must be a penalty, because we are racing but we are showing to the smaller categories that you cannot do whatever you want.

“So, I understand, as I said, Fabio feels angry, but for the future it must be like that. It’s a good choice.”

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