Motorcycle Racing

Espargaro unimpressed by MotoGP stewards’ approach after French GP incidents

Espargaro unimpressed by MotoGP stewards' approach after French GP incidents

Aprilia rider Espargaro had a run-in with two different riders during last Sunday’s race at Le Mans as he tumbled from running third in the opening stages to a disappointing ninth at the finish.

On lap seven, Enea Bastianini threw his Ducati up the inside of Espargaro at Turns 9/10 while chasing him for sixth, with the Spaniard having to take the escape road before rejoining the track in eighth.

Then on the last lap, Espargaro came to blows with Pramac rider Franco Morbidelli at the final turn, costing Espargaro a place not only to Morbidelli but also KTM’s Brad Binder.

No penalties were handed out in the two clashes, but Bastianini did have to complete a long lap for cutting the chicane while overtaking the Spaniard.

Speaking after the race, Espargaro was puzzled as to why stewards didn’t take the two incidents more seriously.

“The pace was good enough to finish in the top five but Enea hit me at very, very high speed. Luckily it was the run-off area,” he said.

“I don’t understand why he didn’t get the penalty for the action and then I lost a lot of time behind Diggia [Fabio Di Giannantonio], behind [Fabio] Quartararo. I overtook them a couple of times but they overtook me again.

Photo by: Marc Fleury

“Then on the last chicane Franco hit me very hard and even Binder overtook me. Then he apologised after the chequered flag but also no penalty. Nothing I could do, really. It was a very strange race.”

Espargaro later clarified that there was no contact between him and Bastianini, but that he had to take avoiding action or risk crashing into his Ducati rival.

The 34-year-old feels the stewards only take into account the impact of an incident, rather than the incident itself, while deciding whether a rider should be penalised or not.

“[With] Enea I had to pick up the bike, it was very quick. But Franco also, If I didn’t pick up the bike I would also crash.

“So the feeling is that they just put a penalty if you crash. But you have to judge and penalise the action, not the outcome, not the result.

“If I hold the line we both had a big fly, we were very fast and I saw the replay, he [Bastianini] was far when he attacked me. I didn’t really understand.

“I lost my race. I wasn’t that bad at that stage of the race. Not really to fight for the victory, for the podium, but I was good. But I lost six seconds there.”

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

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