FIM Stewards hand Franco Morbidelli Long Lap penalty after causing crash in MotoGP race
Franco Morbidelli, a MotoGP rider for Monster Yamaha, has been given a Long Lap penalty by the FIM Stewards after causing a crash in the race that involved rider #73. The incident occurred during the Grand Prix of Spain at the Circuito de Jerez on Sunday.
Morbidelli’s team-mate, Fabio Quartararo, overtook Marc Marquez at a corner during the race. Morbidelli then attempted to follow suit and hugged the inside, drawing almost alongside Marquez. However, Marquez was not aware of Morbidelli’s position on the kerb and squared off the exit, causing their paths to cross and sending both riders to the ground.
The incident caused chaos on the track, with several other riders caught up in the crash. Marco Bezzecchi, the title leader, was among those affected. Morbidelli himself was fortunate to escape with relatively minor injuries after being clipped by Takaaki Nakagami.
Following the incident, the FIM Stewards deemed that Morbidelli had been riding irresponsibly and causing the crash. Morbidelli’s Monster Yamaha team appealed the decision, but their appeal was ultimately rejected.
As a result, Morbidelli was handed a Long Lap penalty, which requires him to take a longer route through a designated area of the track, adding several seconds to his lap time. The penalty is seen as a relatively lenient punishment, as Morbidelli was not excluded from the race entirely.
“I didn’t expect that because I was on the inside, on the line, there was no space and when I heard a bike, I said, ‘from where is it coming?’ Then I felt the contact, which was quite big. Then we were really lucky nobody hit us [harder].
“For me it was past the limit, because there was no space,” Marquez added. “But I mean [the FIM Stewards decisions] is a lottery. So we will see…”
Told of Marquez’s words, Morbidelli responded:
“I didn’t try to overtake him! I was doing my corner.
“He got overtaken by Fabio and went a bit wide. I saw a gap, I went to do my corner nice and tight. I didn’t want to overtake him. I said, ‘OK, I put my bike here’ and to me the guy came cutting the line.
“He didn’t see me [or] he left no space, I don’t know, but the result is that he cut the line, we touch and I crashed. I didn’t want to overtake anybody. I just wanted to do my corner.
“But you know, it’s a Sprint race. Every position you gain counts a whole lot. If you gain a position, most likely you’re going to keep it all race long because overtaking is so difficult nowadays.
“This is the result. People risking, risking, risking.”
“The approach is even more aggressive because people know now what is the game. So everybody is more aggressive. Everybody is pushing more and that’s it. It’s racing, we are always on the limit. It’s also true that it’s a really thin track here. So anyway it’s like it is and we try to approach it in the best way.”