Francesco Bagnaia now doubts that a discarded tear-off was to blame for his fall while leading last Sunday's Emilia Romagna MotoGP.

But the Italian still wants the issue discussed in the riders' Safety Commission meeting after a tear-off ruined the race of his team-mate Jack Miller.

The piece of transparent plastic was sucked into the air intake of Miller's Pramac Ducati, strangling the engine and eventually forcing his retirement.

Bagnaia had then raised the possibility of running over a tear-off to explain his own 'strange' race accident, but now thinks it was probably down to being closer to the limit than he had thought.

"The Ducati technicians have been looking at the data for the last four days and they said to me it was not my fault, so maybe the only thing we can say is that we were on the limit, me and Maverick, because we were five-tenths faster a lap. So maybe it's just for that reason, more on the limit, and a front tyre crash," Bagnaia said, before turning to the tear-off issue.

"Sometimes when you run over a tear-off you feel the front closing or the rear sliding a bit. So it's something I would like to explain tomorrow in the Safety Commission, because I think it's not normal – not for my crash, because we don't know if it was a tear-off – but for what happened to Jack.

"You can't lose a race like this and I think the marshals have to clean the track every lap, every time that they see a tear-off on the ground."

Bagnaia subsequently conceded that marshals retrieving tear-offs from a 'live' track would be unrealistic, but suggested having one area on the circuit for riders to dispose of their tear-offs. However, that would also only work if the vision problem - caused by insects, debris or fluid - was not severe enough to require immediate use of a tear-off.

"I think it's not possible for marshals to clean every time because during practice or qualifying there are riders in all parts of the circuit," Bagnaia said. "But maybe for the race it's important to make a law that says you can put the tear-off down in only one part of the circuit. Because like this the marshals can clean it better.

"I don't know, but for sure it will be important to discuss it because Jack was not fast enough to win the race, but was fast enough for the top seven, and he's fighting for the championship. So it's not possible that he has a zero for the championship for that reason. Every time Mike Webb, Capirossi, Uncini speak with us about safety, so I'm sure that they will listen to us."

'I thought the bike was blowing up'

Miller had battled with the engine for six laps before retiring in the pits, later posting an image of one of Fabio Quartararo's tear-offs that he said had been extracted from his Desmosedici onto social media.

"Straightaway the bike lost power. We were getting passed by everybody on the straights," Miller said of the tear-off incident. "The big thing was the acceleration. I was hanging off the back of Lecuona and I don’t-remember-who and then Alex Marquez ploughed into the side of me at Turns 9-10 and that’s when I said to myself ‘you know what? I’m gonna kill myself here for a shit position when the bike is playing up’.

"At that point, I thought the bike was blowing up. I tried everything, switching all the maps and the electronics and it wasn’t too be. By the time he ploughed into me and hit me off the side of the track I decided that it was f**ked and came into the box. It’s unfortunate, is what it is, and hopefully it won’t happen again.

"I don’t think [discarded tear-offs] are a problem unless everyone is ditching their tear-offs before the start of the race. When you’re riding they tend to fly away, whereas at the start they are clearly dropped onto the ground, on the track.

"I never really have the need to dump the tear-off [without the bike moving], only really in qualifying when I notice there might be something on it when I’m in the pitlane. I have enough problems as it is without having to take my hand off the bar during a race!"

 

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