Franco Morbidelli felt a 'non-elegant' move by a 'frustrated' Johann Zarco was to blame for their opening lap incident in Sunday's Czech Republic MotoGP.

The pair made contact through the second part of the Turn 3-4 chicane, sending Morbidelli to the ground - with his Petronas Yamaha then wiping out Suzuki's Joan Mir.

Their paths crossed after Zarco plummeted from third of the grid, while Morbidelli and Mir were on the rise after starting twelfth and 16th respectively.

"It looked like I was going to have a good race because I had a good feeling in warm-up and had already recovered one position in the opening corners," Morbidelli said.

"I was eleventh and then unfortunately, after an awful start, maybe Johann Zarco was a bit frustrated and decided to make a non-elegant move on me.

"I was the guy on the outside and I was in front and trying to make my corner. But apparently Johann felt the need to get a bit more space and made a bit more space for him, or just decided to hit me, I don’t know.

"And this just made me go down and ruined my race and Mir's race."

The Italian believes Zarco's frustration at losing so many positions, after claiming KTM's first-ever front row in the wet qualifying, was a factor.

"Yes, I mean I clearly understand that he was frustrated, because he had an awful start, because he started third and he was with me. We were eleventh and he was going to be twelfth," Morbidelli said.

"So he was going to lose a lot of positions. I understand it and he did a move dictated from the frustration, I guess.

"I was the one that was there, unfortunately, and we all know that Johann is not the most clean and the most elegant rider, but I'm not complaining too much. I mean, this is racing.

"Pity for the team, and for Johann Mir. But anyway this is racing and we go forward."

Zarco, who went on to finish in 14th place, said his 'disastrous' start had been caused by lining up on the wet side of the grid.

"I think the right side of the grid was wet and I spun at the start. I lost maybe 7-8 positions immediately," he explained.

The Frenchman hadn’t yet watched a reply of the Morbidelli incident but thought the contact was a consequence of cutting back to the inside after a wide entry and possibly being squeezed by the M1 rider, whom he couldn't see.

"Should be good to see the video. I lost many places at the start, then I was behind Fabio and maybe Aleix Espargaro into Turn 3," Zarco said. "I could not go to the inside - so I was a bit to the outside, but if I'm outside at Turn 3 it means I will be inside at Turn 4.

"It was totally my position, so I was there behind Aleix and Fabio but then it's true that I got contact with Franco, I think Franco tried to close but I was totally on the right side of my bike and not even seeing him.

"I felt the contact and I didn’t even know if he crashed or not. It looked like he crashed, so sorry for him."

Like Morbidelli, Mir had high hopes for the race after a strong warm-up, his exasperation at being taken-out clear to see as the rookie dropped to his knees in the gravel trap.

"It was a shame because after the warm-up, that was only the third dry practice this weekend, we were able to have a good setting. I was able to be fast and really constant, so I was really happy," he said.

"Then in the race, this is what happens when you start at the back. What can I say? I overtook a lot of riders in two corners, then on the fourth corner I think Zarco touched Morbidelli, Morbidelli crashed and I was on the outside of Morbidelli. That's it. I couldn’t do anything.

"The good thing is that Austria is only next weekend."

Before which, all three will be back on track for Monday's official Brno test.

Zarco said he now has "settings plus parts to have the bike under control, then when I want to go fast I have other problems that we are not able to fix and we're going to work on that tomorrow."

Morbidelli plans to work on "improving the balance, which was already good this weekend. Still we need to improve a little bit the speed, which is there sometimes but not consistently."

Mir will try the new Suzuki fairing used by team-mate Alex Rins as well working on "wheelie and braking" for next weekend's Austrian round.

Meanwhile, the wet right-side of the track that Zarco highlighted for his bad start, was the only 'small area' where Morbidelli felt Race Direction's handling of the weather conditions could have been improved.

"Race Direction acted perfectly. The only thing I can say is that maybe [the Safety Cars] were cleaning up just some areas of the grid and not all of it, so it became [not so good] for some riders that were starting on the inside. But this is the only thing. The way Race Direction acted was perfect, apart from this small thing."




Loading Comments...