Pol Espargaro thought he claimed KTM's first front row of the season as he rocketed to second on the grid in the closing stages of Saturday's MotoGP qualifying at Brno.

But he hadn't seen yellow flags being waved at Turn 9 in the wake of an accident for Cal Crutchlow.

New rules mean that any rider improving their lap time while passing through a yellow flag will have that lap deleted.

However, what left Espargaro 'pissed off' and considering some form of appeal was that he hadn't been able to see the yellow flags due to their location.

"They didn’t show the yellow flag where we all agreed in the Safety Commission that it should be," he said. "I've paid for it. It was one of the best qualifyings I did with the KTM and we should be in second position but we are in sixth. Really pissed off."

Although his lap time would have been scrubbed regardless of whether he saw the yellow flags or not, because he didn't see them - and believing he had got the maximum from his new tyres - Espargaro then abandoned the chance of another flying lap.

If Espargaro had seen the yellow flags, he would have known the lap was lost and not only slowed down - for safety reasons and to save his tyres - but then tried again on what would have been the final lap of the session.

"There was a yellow flag, which we all need to respect, but they need to do good work as well. They cannot show a yellow flag in-between two corners where I cannot see," Espargaro said.

"I had two laps to push and I cancelled my last one because I felt good. I had one more bullet [to use] but I did not push [for another lap] because I did not see the yellow flag. They did a bad job.

"Cal was on the ground, so it doesn’t matter about my lap, but I was super-fast in that corner and I could have crashed there also because I was risking a lot.

"If they put the yellow flag one corner earlier in Turn 8 then I would see it and kill my speed.

"We will [appeal]. They will say there is a yellow flag on the corner but that it just talking bad. It’s bullshit. How can I see it? Maybe if you zoom the image you can see it! Imagine me on the bike changing direction? No way!

"Tomorrow I will reset and we have good pace and a good place to start, but yeah, today is a day when we should be in the [front row] press conference."

The other high-profile lap removed on Saturday afternoon was for Takaaki Nakagami.

The Japanese was stripped of his fastest time in Qualifying 1 when he touched both wheels on the green paint at the edge of the track on the exit of Turn 12.

The LCR Honda rider's lost time would have put him second in the session and therefore through to Qualifying 2. If he had then at least repeated the deleted 1m 56.290s lap in Q2, it would have been good enough for seventh on the grid, instead of 17th.

"The team explained that I was out of the kerb and touched the green, so the lap time is cancelled. I thought 'this is impossible', but I saw the replay, and you can see clearly I touched the green with both tyres," Nakagami said.

"This is, not a mistake, but these are the rules. I'm really sorry for the team, but on the other hand, I tried my best. Everyone is so close to the limit, and unfortunately, I was over the limit.

"As you can see also, the critical point is Turn 12 and the last corner, Turn 14. Nobody gains anything [by running onto the paint], but these are the rules; if you touch the green everyone has their lap time cancelled. Everyone complains, but nothing you can do.

"We keep positive energy for tomorrow, our heads are not down. Today was not our day. Easy to say, but if I could get through to Q2, I don't want to say front row, but we could fight for the second row."

Meanwhile, in Moto3, Davide Pizzoli has been hit with a back of the grid start and long lap penalty for falling at Turn 9 while yellow flags were being waved during Qualifying 1. It is not clear if Pizzoli, like Espargaro, had been unable to see them.

 

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