Espargaro, Bagnaia defend Quartararo after confusing Assen penalty

While Fabio Quartararo will need to overcome a Long Lap penalty in he’s to secure a second consecutive British MotoGP victory, Aleix Espargaro, Alex Rins and Francesco Bagnaia have come to the series leader’s defence, claiming his penalty from Assen is ‘difficult to understand’.
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha MotoGP Silverstone
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha MotoGP Silverstone

Quartararo was immediately awarded a Long Lap penalty for the British MotoGP which will need to be served within three laps of Sunday’s race getting underway.

Quartararo, who crashed into Espargaro during the early stages of the Dutch Grand Prix and subsequently cost the Aprilia rider several positions and a potential race win, was awarded a penalty that similar or worse mistakes have gone unpunished for this season.

"I fully agree with Fabio [Quartararo] in the sense that he’s not happy and that he cannot understand the penalty,” said the man he crashed into. “I fully agree with him because we’ve seen different examples during this year which have been much more aggressive than him and had no penalty.

"If you give a penalty on those cases and then you give Fabio a penalty, then I think he would understand and carry on. But all the riders on the safety commission are pushing for the same. 

"We are trying to understand where the limit is and to make it easier for everybody. If one day you penalise and then another day you don’t penalise then it is difficult for us to understand. I think we will keep riding aggressively. 

"When Fabio said he will not overtake any more, that’s not true, he will overtake a lot [Espargaro laughs]. You need to penalise the same. Whether it’s Jack [Miller] in Portimao, Taka [Nakagami] in Barcelona or this one. They were not that different but there were different penalties or no penalties. It’s difficult to understand."

Injured in a big crash of his own that was caused by dangerous riding from Takaaki Nakagami in Barcelona, Rins also came to Quartararo’s defence.

Alex Rins crash, Catalunya MotoGP. 5 July
Alex Rins crash, Catalunya MotoGP. 5 July

Rins added: "There are two types of crashes, I think. There is this one [Quartararo] where you start to overtake and lose the front and then there’s the other type which is the one in Montmelo. 

"I don’t know what needs to change. For me, the one from Fabio - I’m not fully agree with the penalty."

Bagnaia likens the reigning MotoGP champion’s crash to that of his own at Lusail

Another mistake that went unpunished, although unlike the Nakagami incident this was very similar to Quartararo was Bagnaia’s crash at the season-opener when he lost the front-end and wiped out fellow Ducati rider Jorge Martin.  

"It’s difficult to understand these types of penalties," claimed Bagnaia. "In Qatar I did almost the same as Jack and it was very similar to the one of Fabio but we didn’t get the penalty. 

"In Barcelona we have seen a big, big crash and it was really irresponsible riding and Taka didn’t get a penalty. 

"So for us it’s very difficult to understand and I’m not agree with the penalty of Fabio."

The man of the hour also speaks about his penalty…

Fabio Quartararo British MotoGP, 4 August
Fabio Quartararo British MotoGP, 4 August

Asked if he had a change of heart regarding the penalty and whether it was deserved, Quartararo said ‘not at all’ as he referred to his mistake as a racing incident. 

The Yamaha rider continued by saying: "I don’t want to say something about the previous crash because there was no penalty. Of course, after the crash of Barcelona that was massive, I understand that they want to change a little bit the rules and that they need to be more aggressive." 

"But I think we need to find a balance between irresponsible riding and a racing incident."

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