Aleix Espargaro has expressed his amazement at several decisions throughout the Grand Prix of Argentina, principally Race Direction’s decision to not show Marc Marquez a black flag despite a string of high-speed offences.

The Catalan didn’t hold back when sharing his thoughts on the drama-filled second round of 2018, stating his belief that too many incidents have gone unpunished in the past, and that Race Direction must do more to protect riders.

Having felt the full force of a slip-siding Marquez on the ninth lap of the race at the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit, Espargaro was pushed off track and struggled to subsequently recover.

“What else does he have to do to be black flagged,” he pondered on Thursday, referencing Marquez's actions. “Remove the black flag from the rules [because] we are not using it. It's just a waste to move it all around the world. We don’t need it. The rules have to change.”

Espargaro once again took aim at Danilo Petrucci (“the most dirty rider on the grid”) and went on to cite a crucial difference between contact during a race and hitting another rider. Contact in the heat of the battle is no bad thing, he said.

In fact, “it has to be there.” But clattering another rider when going considerably faster is another issue. And a one-race ban could be a useful deterrent.

“The contact has to be there. Actually I'm a rider who thinks the contact has to be there. If not it's very boring. Contact, close passes I agree. It's nice. Adrenaline for the people. But one thing is a contact pass and another thing is to hit a rider. Completely two separate things and I think it's not too difficult to see the difference.

“For me Marc hit me. He was 25km/h faster. That is not touching. And he called me after the race and said, 'I'm really sorry, I made a bad calculation'. I said, 'Mate, if you touch me it is not a problem, but you really made a very, very bad calculation and you hit me 30km/h faster than me'.

“He said, 'you are right, fully right. I'm really sorry. Nothing I can say to you but sorry'. This is a hit.

“If you touch somebody to overtake like we see many times in the last corner at Assen, this is racing. Phillip Island last year in the downhill. This is racing. It's fun. But it's completely different thing if you hit somebody than if you make a close pass.”

“When I remember Lorenzo in Japan [in 2005] - I was at home watching the race - Lorenzo in Japan was out of the race because he hit de Angelis. He wasn't that aggressive in that time, the races before, and he was penalised by a one-race ban. Which for me was good, but why are we not doing any more? What do we have to do?”

Espargaro also expressed incredulity at the treatment of Moto3 rider Aron Canet, who brazenly clashed with Makar Yurchenko in FP1. Canet was let off, and his fellow Catalan felt this was another dereliction of duty by the race stewards.

“Sincerely we have to talk in the Safety Commission tomorrow,” said Espargaro. “But I don't know who is putting the penalties. I don’t know how the penalise. I don't know why they penalise sometimes or not. Why was Canet not penalised on Friday in Argentina? He was fully to crash this guy and zero penalty. So I don’t understand the job of these Stewards.

“The flags have to be there to be used. The blue flag they show when someone is faster than you, the yellow flag for the crash, the black flag for a really hard action. So if we have the black flag we have to use it.

“And Marc knows perfectly because I talked with him and he knows he did enough to get the black flag. So why 30-seconds penalty? If we have the black flag we have to use it, if not we remove [it]."

Does he feel a black flag would have been more effective in order to curb Marquez’s wilder instincts? “I think Marc is a very intelligent rider. Very, very intelligent,” he said. “And he knows the race he did in Argentina and the penalty, if he's a smart guy, will not change because the actions he did were the same. Doesn't matter the penalties.

“So I think he learned enough. But for the rest of the riders I think we deserve a bit more respect, so in my opinion the black flag is maybe more respectful to the rest of the grid.”

Still, Espargaro wasn’t finished. The aggressive actions of Danilo Petrucci have become tiresome, he said, and will express his concerns regarding the Italian’s riding in tomorrow’s Safety Commission meeting.

“I will say everything,” he said. “Actually I printed all the actions of Danilo over the last three years because it's a disaster. Every race is like this. I talked also with Aspar mechanics and he hit very hard Abraham in corner one in Argentina and Abraham went out of the track.

“So every race he hits one or other rider. I've printed all the actions where he hit somebody and made him crash and I will ask why, never ever, has he not been penalised?

“Danilo don’t even call me. Pramac just make a bulls**t communication on social media saying they have an angel in the garage. This makes me very angry because they have the f**king picture there.

“So why a serious team like Pramac have to do this and don’t even say sorry to the rider? I mean it's unbelievable what they did.

“I was angry with Marc, obviously very angry, and I said to him, 'mate, big, big mistake'. And he said to me three times, 'sorry. I'm very sorry. I made a very bad calculation. I think I was more aggressive with you than with Valentino. I'm very sorry.’”

 

 

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