Seven riders hit with pitlane starts for irresponsible riding
Seven Moto3 riders, including Qatar Grand Prix podium finisher Pedro Acosta, have been slapped with pitlane starts for Sunday’s Doha GP for irresponsible riding in Friday practice.
The dying moments of Friday evening’s Moto3 FP2 led to a logjam of riders exiting pitlane for their final attempts to bag a place inside the top 14 on the timesheets to advance directly into qualifying’s Q2 session.
With everyone keen to find a perfect tow to lift them up the order given the potency of the slipstream at Losail for Moto3 bikes, many riders tripped each other up.
MotoGP Race Direction has clamped down hard on slow riding in the Moto3 class in recent years, imposing minimum sector times riders must adhere to regardless of what kind of lap they are on in attempt to stop loitering on track.
The penalties for these offences have also gotten harsher, with riders now threatened with race bans should they be repeat offenders of touring – deemed irresponsible riding in the rule book – during a grand prix weekend.
Ajo KTM’s Acosta, as well as Leopard’s Dennis Foggia, Max Racing rider Romano Fenati, Aspar’s Sergio Garcia, Tech 3’s Deniz Oncu and BOE Owlride duo Riccardo Rossi and Stefano Nepa were all touring at the final corner during FP2.
As a result, Race Direction has slapped each of them with a pitlane start for this Sunday’s second round of the 2021 Moto3 World Championship.
Amidst all of the chaos of the closing stages of FP2, numerous riders proved too slow on their out-laps and took the chequered flag before starting their final time attack.
Petronas Sprinta’s Darryn Binder topped Friday’s combined times with a 2m04.781s, heading Aspar’s Sergio Garcia and Gabriel Rodrigo on the Gresini Honda.
Qatar GP winner Jaume Masia was sixth overall, with Ajo KTM teammate Acosta safely into Q2 in ninth – but that effort squandered by his penalty.
Acosta stunned on his Moto3 debut last weekend in the Qatar GP by finishing second, making him the first Moto3 rider to get to the rostrum on their grand prix debut since Xavi Artigas at the 2019 Valencia GP when he was a wildcard.
Artigas makes his full-time grand prix debut this season with Leopard, but his campaign got off to a difficult start when he triggered a multi-rider collision in the Qatar GP.
He must serve a double long lap penalty in this Sunday’s Doha race as punishment.
Qatar Moto3: Masia wins wild season opener in Ajo KTM 1-2
Doha Moto3: KTM's Acosta charges from pitlane to win