MotoGP riders support strong penalties for dangerous riding

Pedro Acosta flies over his handlebars after running into Jeremy Alcoba’s bike. Picture: Fox Sports

Leading MotoGP riders have expressed support for strong penalties for dangerous riding, following the shocking Moto3 crash at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA).

Deniz Oncu was suspended for two races for his part in a multi-rider incident in the lightweight class race, which began when the Tech3 rider weaved into the path of Jeremy Alcoba along the back straight.

The contact took the Spaniard down before Pedro Acosta and Andrea Migno launched off the stricken Honda in terrifying fashion.

While Alcoba, Acosta, and Migno were all able to walk away, Oncu was deemed guilty of “irresponsible riding causing danger to other competitors”, meaning he will miss the Emilia Romagna and Algarve Grands Prix.

The Turk’s manager, Kenan Sofuoglu, disagrees with that decision, reasoning that aggressive riding is “part of the sport” and claiming that he has seen worse manoeuvres.

However, the podium finishers in the MotoGP race which followed, namely Marc Marquez, Fabio Quartararo, and Francesco Bagnaia, make such punishment to be necessary.

Their comments come amid heightened concern about rider behaviour, particularly in junior categories, after three deaths this year including that of Dean Berta Viñales just eight days prior to the Oncu-Alcoba-Acosta-Migno incident.

“Of course, it was a scary moment and [watching] the TV, everybody in my box was silenced because you never know,” recalled Repsol Honda’s Marquez.

“It’s a difficult season for the motorcycle world but it’s true that it was the mistake or the movement of one rider that create all these things.

“I think it is a very strong penalty of course, and of course was not the intention of Oncu, but it’s true that in the end they must [issue such penalties if] they want to stop these movements.

“You cannot change in the main of the straight the bike or your line too aggressively because then you can create these things, so for me it’s the way to stop, especially in the small categories, this kind of movement.”

Quartararo noted that development categories such as Moto3 are different beasts to MotoGP given their relative lack of power and thus the importance of the slipstream.

However, the championship-leading Monster Energy Yamaha rider agreed that actions like Oncu’s should attract tough penalties.

The Moto3 race at the Circuit of The Americas. Picture:

“To be honest, the last three accidents that we had was in small categories,” observed Quartararo.

“I think, yeah, it’s true that for them the slipstream is really important but there must be something that you can’t change the line on the straight.

“For sure, it was really not the intention of Deniz but unfortunately we need to have I think during the race big penalties for the ones that make some strange movement on the straight especially.”

Moto3 has become notorious for wild riding, a point noted by Bagnaia, who also said it was fortunate that COTA’s back straight is relatively wide.

“It’s not the first time that we see something like this in Moto3,” stated the Ducati Lenovo Team rider.

“In Barcelona, also [Gabriel] Rodrigo had done the same but with more luck because we didn’t see any accident.

“I think that we have seen a lot more strange movements. We are also lucky that the straight is very, very large [wide] and the wall is a bit too far [away].

“I think that it is good that he received this type of penalty, but it is the only way for sure to start to change something.”

Oncu’s suspension as a result of the incident at the Grand Prix of the Americas follows the disqualification of Yuki Kunii from the preceding race of the season, the San Marino Grand Prix.

In that case, it was Kunii who was hit, but he was deemed at fault for riding slowly on the race line, through the fastest corner of the Misano circuit during a practice session.

The grand prix circus returns to Misano for the next round of the season, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, on October 22-24.

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