Espargaro: Banned Moto3 rider’s manager ‘has no brain’

Deniz Oncu. Picture: MotoGP.com

Aleix Espargaro has snapped back at Kenan Sofuoglu’s defence of his client Deniz Oncu after the Turkish youngster was banned for dangerous riding in the most recent Moto3 race.

Oncu has been sidelined for two races after he weaved into the path of Jeremy Alcoba down the back straight at the Circuit of The Americas, taking the Spaniard down before Pedro Acosta and Andrea Migno launched off the stricken Honda.

While all three were able to walk away, Oncu was found to have committed an act of “irresponsible riding causing danger to other competitors” and suspended from both the Emilia Romagna and Algarve Grands Prix.

Valentino Rossi and the podium finishers in the MotoGP race which followed, namely Marc Marquez, Fabio Quartararo, and Francesco Bagnaia, all expressed their agreement with the penalty, amid three deaths in major junior categories in the last six months.

Sofuoglu, however, asserted that the decision was “not right”, that he has seen worse riding, and that aggression is simply “part of the sport”, even if he would prefer to not see contact.

The five-time Supersport World Champion, now a manager of a number of riders who could reasonably be described as aggressive, claimed that their rivals simply complain due to being unable to beat them.

Espargaro had a different view.

Retweeting a report of Sofuoglu’s comments, the Aprilia MotoGP rider wrote, “OMG…. Luckily this guy is ‘far’ from the MotoGP paddock!”

The crash caused by Oncu. Picture: Fox Sports

He expanded on that in an exchange with another Twitter user, with a blunt assessment of Sofuoglu.

“I am completely sure, zero doubts, that Oncu didn’t do it on purpose, but he is young so this is why he needs to learn,” declared Espargaro.

“Dorna [ie FIM MotoGP stewards] did the right thing with the penalty to teach him, but his manager has no brain so did the opposite thing.”

Competitions such as the Moto3 World Championship have become notorious for hair-raising riding, but Espargaro refuted a suggestion that the nature of the category simply made incidents such as Oncu’s highly likely.

“I’m not agree, Oncu changed the line in the middle of the straight, from right to left where the other rider was and couldn’t disappear,” he responded.

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.

MotoGP, Moto2, and Moto3 return to Misano for the next round of the season on October 22-24.

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