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Ellison loses out after 'unsporting' protest
20 August 2012
PBM's James Ellison dropped from 14th to 15th in Sunday's Indianapolis MotoGP classification following a post-race protest by the Attack Performance team, which was running Steve Rapp as a wild-card entry.
Ellison had dropped to the back of the field after gearbox problems early in the race, then ran off track on several more occasions due to the same issue.
It was during one of those moments, on lap 24 of 27, that Ellison gained a small advantage - setting what would be the tenth fastest lap of the grand prix, 0.3s under the next best lap by a CRT rider.
"As I went into Turn 1 on lap three, there was a problem with the gearbox which caused me to run off the track losing nearly 20 seconds and putting me dead last by a long way," Ellison explained.
"I fought so hard to get back in the points and the problem reoccurred two more times with the same outcome, only the third time it happened, it caused me to cut the track and accidently gain a 1.6 second advantage.
"I didn't really think a lot of it given I had lost so much time and was delighted to have finished 14th in the race but a protest was put in by the rider I beat which was upheld and put us down to 15th."
The official decision confirmed 'Rider #77 Ellison has been demoted 1 position by Race Direction for shortcuting the track (art. 1.21.3)'.
"I think it was a bit harsh as we lost over 20 seconds with the other two excursions and if you ask me, it was just bad sportsmanship and I was very disappointed that we didn't get the additional point we worked so hard for," continued Ellison.
"I have raced against Steve Rapp in AMA and have a lot of respect for him and his Attack team so am disappointed they resorted to this."
Team manager Paul Bird laughed it off: "I had to smile when I heard about the protest from Steve Rapp and his team, if a 40-year-old coming towards the end of his career wants an additional one place GP finish on his CV so badly, then he's welcome to it and it probably makes them feel a little bit better for not even qualifying at Laguna Seca."
Rapp also faced post-race criticism from MotoGP title leader Jorge Lorenzo, who lost time while lapping the American.
"It was was really difficult to pass him because he was riding like he was defending first position," said Lorenzo.
"So every time I tried to pass him, [in my mind] I saw me touching him and crashing, so I preferred to wait a little bit more. But I still had to take a little risk to pass him in the end.
"I think the blue flag wasn't in any corner, so it's unbelievable. We have to solve this because it's very bad for the riders who are fighting for the podium, no?"
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