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Catalunya MotoGP Results

Photo by Rob Gray (Polarity Photo)

Some surprises earlier today at Catalunya. KTM took its first win of the year with an outstanding ride from Miguel Oliveira, who held off a hard-charging Johann Zarco (Ducati) during the final two laps of the race. Zarco finished second ahead of Jack Miller (Ducati), who inherited the podium after Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) received two separate 3-second penalties, which demoted Quartararo from third to sixth place.

One of the penalties assessed against Quartararo was somewhat conventional … for exceeding track limits and re-joining the track without conceding enough time to competitors. The other penalty was, frankly, bizarre. The front zipper on Quartararo’s leathers burst open unexpectedly with just a few laps remaining, forcing Quartararo to abandon his chest protector. In MD’s opinion, penalizing Quartararo for the zipper failure is unfair.

Quartararo continues to lead the championship, but now by only 14 points over Zarco. The riders return to the track in two weeks in Germany. For full results of today’s race, take a look here. You can find additional details on the MotoGP site.

36 Comments

  1. Mick says:

    It suddenly dawned on me that there hasn’t been a very loud push recently by any OEM to force a rule change for some ridiculous reason.

    Have I missed something?

  2. Dave says:

    Excellent, close race. I think I read that FQ himself said a black flag would’ve been appropriate bough he doesn’t agree with the track limits penalty, he saved a crash after all. Nice to see some of last year’s riders and teams getting up front again. For a couple races it looked like we would revert to the old status quo, minus Honda (boy oh boy, are they lost…).

    • mickey says:

      I agree with him. He almost crashed and took an escape route and gained no advantage. Actually lost time. It was like a long lap penalty in length and time. Allowed Miller to close the gap on him.

      At any rate water under the bridge now and another race in a few days.

      • Jeremy says:

        If I’m not mistaken, the actual penalty was for cutting the corner after he went off? The rules say if you do that, you need lose 1 second to not incur a penalty, he apparently lost something like .7 seconds. The penalty I think sucks is the post-race penalty for the suit/chest protector. That’s like Race Direction saying, “We failed to do our job during the race, therefore we must penalize you.”

        • Dave says:

          I think that’s right. Issue being that with all of he flexibility we’re seeing in rule enforcement, is it realistic for a rider who’s nearly crashed to measure a second? He saved the crash, lost time and track position and gets underway again without hurting himself or anyone else.

          The zipper/chest protector thing is another issue. He should’ve been penalized for intentionally tossing a foreign object on the track. That was visible without on-bike camera views. Easy to see, easy to call.

        • mickey says:

          The penalty was for ” exceeding track limits” which basically means he ran off the course.

          • Jeremy says:

            Oh, I thought the penalty for that was an automatic long lap. I guess there weren’t enough laps left to enforce a long lap.

  3. Notarollingroadblock says:

    What? No mention yet of the Moto3 insanity? You’d think that after Mugello the little tykes would add a little caution to their on-track antics. But no, they decided to amp it up a bit this week. Crazy!

    final turn of the final lap, 6 wide:
    https://twitter.com/MotoGP/status/1401478657089183745/photo/1

    • Dave says:

      Amazing. Imagine having to negotiate start-like traffic on the last lap..

      • Jeremy says:

        Turn one looked like that many times during the race. There were several times the whole width of the track was taken up. It was literally like midpack race start traffic. The last few laps, the leader pretty much rolled out of it, because the lead bikes get drafted and beaten to the finish line. On that last lap, the entire lead pack slowed up with him, and he got drafted and beaten to the line.

  4. fred says:

    I agree with MD. The penalty for the zipper was unfair and wrong. Fabio put no other rider at risk. We’ve have the examples of the airbag and the seat, which correctly did not incur penalties. At times it appears that MotoGP may be going the way of F1, which is/would be a tremendous shame.

    Mir’s whining is starting to get old, fast.

    • bmbktmracer says:

      My feeling is that Mir is a class act. These are young, passionate guys who often get the mic in the face at a hi-stress moment in time.

      If the penalty for the zipper was wrong (never mind that he reached into his leathers, removed his chest protector, and flung it on the track), then that rule should be eliminated. Rules and penalties go hand-in-hand. Race directors have quite a bit of latitude in assigning penalties when rules are broken.

  5. Tom R says:

    Wardrobe malfunctions certainly are pesky little things.

  6. DB says:

    I was surprised the black flag did not come out for FQ. Did not know there was rule for chest protectors. If that is the case, it is even more appropriate for a black flag. Just because no one was injured, and FQ has the point lead, is no reason to look the other way. Would be interesting to hear the reason for no black flag. Despite this, I enjoyed the race, even if MM crashed….again

  7. joe b says:

    Everyone is talking about the failed zipper, but it didnt break, he never zipped it up before the race completely, and Fabio never actually said in the after race interview, how it got to where it opened up?
    And they didnt say his airbag went off.
    It looks like he left his zipper down a bit, although over cast it was Hot, because of the heat, and in the race, the 200+mph speeds, unzipped it. It wasnt until the race was over, was he able to completely zip it up. Video of him clearly shows the velcro closure strap, to keep the zipper handle locked, it seems he just left his zipper partly undone, because of the heat, and during the race the lever flapped about, and slowly unzipped. As it would for you and me, but he is racing, with no time to stop and fix it.

    • Jeremy says:

      I never heard that the zipper failed, other than speculation during the race as to what might have happened. He zipped the leathers up after crossing the finish line no problem, and Alpinestars said that there was no fault in the zipper when they inspected the leathers.

    • Mick says:

      One would think that by now they would know to have a suit that ventilated well in hot weather and that you need to zip the thing all the way up.

      Lord knows they used perforated leather decades ago.

  8. Todd says:

    Well deserved win by Oliver’s, Zarco continues his consistency that just might win the prize. Gotta feel bad Fabio. Really gotta wonder what is going on with Honda, battling Aprilia for last place in the constructors title is unimaginable. They put all there eggs in the Marquez basket and there paying the price. Honda is not gonna win shit unless Marquez rides out his mind or they step up development. Clearly it is time to lift the Ban on development.

    • Brinskee says:

      Why is it time to lift the ban on development? Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing other manufacturers win it for a good long while.

      I agree, they put all their eggs in one basket and now they’re paying. But, hypothetical here, isn’t that the best way to win? Try to make a bike that anyone can win on waters things down. Try to focus on creating the perfect bike for one person to win on, and you narrow your focus.

      “If you’ve designed a cockpit to fit the average pilot, you’ve actually designed it to fit no one.”

      https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2016/01/16/when-us-air-force-discovered-the-flaw-of-averages.html

    • Dave says:

      I was thinking about Honda’s conundrum and had a realization. Dani Pedrosa’s contributions to a team are wildly underestimated.

      Honda was almost imperious while he was there, even as he declined, Marquez was dominant. For a long time, Dani was one of only a couple of men in the sport who could win. He leaves and begins test riding for KTM who practically overnight is fielding a very competitive bike that two riders have achieved multiple wins on, even delivering Tech3 racing it’s first wins in over 20 years of competition.

      A little over a year after Dani’s departure, Marquez crashes and with a couple of brief exceptions, Honda flounders continuously.

      • TimC says:

        “It’s not a method; it’s a thought. When you wake up in the morning, you have to decide how you want to see things. The mental strength consists in choosing the positive thought. That it is usually not the easiest way. It’s easier to find an excuse or thinking that there is nothing more to do.”

        – Dani Pedrosa

  9. Jeremy says:

    Great ride by Oliveira. They showed the log of his lap times after the race, and they were amazingly consistent. Zarco ran a great race as well.

    I am surprised Fabio didn’t get a black flag. Don’t get me wrong… I’d hate to see him taken out of the points like that. But a black flag is specifically to remove a rider from the race when a condition exists that compromises his safety or the safety of others. I would think riding around with your leathers wide open would qualify. That is clearly a danger for him, but I imagine the parachute effect also makes it dangerous for riders around him as well as it seems it would make controlling the bike inconsistent at least. Yet all he gets for that is a three second penalty. Post race! MotoGP’s race direction is a clown show.

    • HS1... says:

      It does seem like black flagging FQ was most appropriate. The incident gets more bizarre as initial reports had FQ saying he had an airbag failure and had to unzip and discard his chest protector. That story on “Crash” has been rewritten. An Alpinestar representative said the zipper was working normally after the race. Joan Mir says that FQ throwing the protector was unsafe to other riders.

      • Jeremy says:

        I couldn’t tell if he threw it or if he was trying to get the suit zipped back up and it just flew out. I don’t know if there is any credible explanation out there yet. Miller did come close to rolling over it as he turned in, though.

        • mickey says:

          Jeremy he definitely reached into the suit, pulled the chest protector out and threw it towards the near side of the track.

    • bmbktmracer says:

      I have to agree. Once the suit was opened up like that, he should have immediately been black flagged. I was really surprised when they let him do — what? — 3 full laps to the finish?

      • Jeremy says:

        Or at the very least give him a small window to pull off the track and fix it before throwing the black flag. But you don’t let the guy run three laps at full going-for-the-podium race pace in open leathers to cross the finish line.

        Race Direction’s penalties have always been inconsistent, but this was really a negligent lapse of judgement, IMO. That also seems like an awful precedent for race direction to set, as well, not that precedents seem to matter much to them anyway. Like Miller said, to paraphrase, “We’re racers, and sometimes you have to tell us to stop.”

        And for the record, I’m not saying Fabio should be penalized any further than what he already has. The race is over. Taking points away is not the objective of a black flag.

        • Dave says:

          This is where I think FQ made he right call. As close as the racing is, stopping or significantly slowing the bike for any amount of time results in a huge disadvantage. By keeping at it, he gambled that the penalties wouldn’t be as costly as stopping or slowing and it worked out for him. I can’t see how bringing the bike to a stop (regardless of where that is or isn’t allowed) would result in less than 6 second’s deficit.

          • Jeremy says:

            I agree, and that is the call I believe any rider would have made, particularly someone in contention for the podium and the championship. But race direction, IMO, should have stopped him.

  10. HS1 says:

    The rules state that chest protectors are required. Race direction could have black flagged him for the airbag mishap and his choice to respond by unzipping and removing his chest protection. That would have perhaps been a cleaner remedy, but it would have been far more costly for FQ’s results. Should the failure of required PPE be treated any different than mechanical or tire failures, just because a rider can still keep pace?

  11. Fred N says:

    Danny Pedrosa caught on camera smiling again, actually ecstatic !
    Who would have thought it possible ?

    • Jeremy says:

      The guy seems to be having more fun in that role than he ever did as a racer. It is good to see him happy.

  12. mickey says:

    Great race for Oliveria and KTM

    Zarco is proving to be fast and reliable. He never really looks happy in interviews though.

    Another real tough day for team Honda. They appear to be in trouble, even with Marquez back.

    Weird day for Fabio. Probably had the speed but exceeding track limits, losing the zipper on his leathers, and 2 penalties relegated him to 6th and really closed up the WC chase, especially with Zarco. A real controversial penalty. Some feel he should have been black flagged for his own safety.

    Another tough day for the Espargaro brothers and Valentino.

  13. bmbktmracer says:

    Brilliant rides by Oliveira and Zarco. Also, big respect to Remy Gardner in Moto2. I think he and Oliveira rode perfect races.

  14. Burtg says:

    Hopefully this is the beginning of long string of podiums for Olivera. He seems like a great guy.
    He fought for that win in all the right ways on a dry track and not inheriting the lead due to a front runner crashing out.
    He dominated. And his bike was amazingly fast in the corners and the straights.
    Dani Pedrosa was so happy. He deserves a pay raise for his hard work on the KTM.