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Stewards summon Zarco, Morbidelli after Austria GP crash

Daniel Herrero

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Wednesday 19th August, 2020 - 9:39am

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Franco Morbidelli and Johann Zarco (standing)

MotoGP’s stewards panel has summoned Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli to answer questions about the horror crash in the Austrian Grand Prix which they were at the centre of.

The incident began when the pair made contact at the Red Bull Ring’s Turn 2 kink, which saw both fall and their motorcycles sent careering towards the tight right-hander at the top of the hill.

Zarco’s Esponsorama Ducati speared through the infield air fence, which caused it to leap over Maverick Viñales’ head, while Morbidelli’s Petronas SRT Yamaha tumbled through the small gap between Viñales and Valentino Rossi.

They are set to meet stewards this Thursday at the Red Bull Ring, where the Styrian MotoGP will be held in the days following.

Zarco, who drifted towards rider’s right through Turn 2, leading to the contact, claims that he did not deliberately try to “stop Morbidelli”, although the Italian described him as “half a killer” on Italian television.

The statement from the FIM MotoGP Stewards advises that Danilo Petrucci and Aleix Espargaro already met stewards on the Sunday night of the Austrian Grand Prix race.

However, it is not clear why given “several incidents both on and off the track during the last two Grands Prix in the Czech Republic and Austria” are active investigations.

See below for full statement

Petrucci and Espargaro were among the pack following Zarco and Morbidelli at the time of the clash, although not directly behind, but were involved in their own incident during Qualifying 1 on the afternoon prior.

Petrucci took exception to a previously slow-moving Espargaro (Gresini Aprilia) pulling onto the race line as the Italian was on a flying lap during his second run.

He gesticulated at Espargaro on-track and back in pit lane, including displaying a middle finger, before punching his Ducati Team’s pit wall in frustration.

KTM stablemates Pol Espargaro (factory team) and Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull Tech3) have also been summoned for this Thursday, after their coming-together on Lap 9 of the second part of the race.

Espargaro ran wide at Turn 4 before contact apparently between his front wheel and Oliveira’s rear took both down.

Statement from the FIM MotoGP Stewards

Following several incidents both on and off track during the last two Grands Prix in the Czech Republic and Austria, the FIM MotoGP™ Stewards began to summon the riders involved in order to better understand the circumstances of each situation, in addition to analysing video footage of the incidents in question.

Since it was not possible to organise all the hearings at the end of the Austrian GP MotoGP™ race on Sunday the 16th of August, the members of the FIM MotoGP™ Stewards panel, composed of Bill Cumbow, Freddie Spencer and Ralph Bohnhorst, will continue to summon the riders concerned as soon as possible ahead of the BMW M Grand Prix of Styria.

Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) each attended a hearing on Saturday at the Austrian GP.

Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing), Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) will now each meet with the FIM MotoGP™ Stewards on Thursday the 20th of August at the Red Bull Ring.

The FIM’s mission is to support riders and contribute to their safety and education, as well as to apply any sanctions required by the FIM Regulations.

A press release will be issued after the hearings.

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