Valentino Rossi critical of “Russian Roulette” Moto3 restart decision

Valentino Rossi has praised the harsh penalty given to Deniz Oncu for causing the terrifying Moto3 crash in Sunday’s Austin race, but was critical of the “Russian Roulette” restart decision.

Valentino Rossi critical of “Russian Roulette” Moto3 restart decision
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Sunday’s Moto3 Grand Prix of the Americas was red-flagged after eight laps after Filip Salac needed assistance being taken off track following a nasty highside.

The decision by organisers was taken to restart the grand prix with a five-lap dash, but the race only made it to lap three when a second red flag was flown for a horror crash on the Circuit of the Americas back straight.

Tech3 rider Oncu chopped across Gresini rider Jeremy Alcoba’s front wheel, causing him to go down on the straight in front of championship leader Pedro Acosta and Rossi protege Andrea Migno – both riders launched into the air in sickening incidents.

All riders walked away from the crash unscathed, while Oncu was hit was a two-race ban for his part and the race result was declared based on the end of the original start – gifting rookie Izan Guevara his first win.

Safety in the junior classes has been a hot topic following the death of 15-year-old Supersport 300 racer Dean Berta Vinales at Jerez a week prior.

Rossi said the safety situation in Moto3 is “out of control” owing to riding standards and feels race stewards had no choice but to give Oncu a harsh penalty – but was also critical of the decision to restart the race in the first place.

“So, I don’t want to say about Oncu or another rider, but for me the penalty is right,” Rossi said. “They had to do something. It’s a minimum that he has to spend two races at home, because they have to do something serious because the situation is completely out of control for me.

“For me today they made a mistake because they make Moto3 restart for five laps, and it’s too dangerous for five laps. It’s like Russian Roulette.

“But apart from that, Oncu moved in the straight when he knows he has another rider alongside and cuts across. That potentially was a mortal crash. I was very scared for everybody.

“Acosta made a terrifying crash and they are very lucky nothing happened. But they have to do something serious with these young guys from the beginning. The situation has to change before something happens. Motorcycle racing is too dangerous to have this behaviour on track.

“You have to respect your safety and the safety of your rival, and this is the most important thing than gaining one position because here you play with the lives of young guys and it’s potentially a disaster.”

Deniz Oncu, Red Bull KTM Tech 3

Deniz Oncu, Red Bull KTM Tech 3

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Ducati’s Jack Miller echoed Rossi’s comments, while noting the accident would have been much worse had it happened at a smaller track.

“That wasn’t unfortunate. That was blatant moving on the straight,” Miller fumed. “Shit like that’s been happening all year. Looking back at Barcelona this year for example, that was one race where I had my heart in my mouth because of those kind of moves on the straight, and today honestly that was really, really bad.

“And I’m really happy all the guys were able to get out, especially Acosta and Migno who were innocent bystanders in the whole thing. They were just trying to use the slipstream like normal human beings and then idiots in front have to go and hit each other and put a bike in the middle of the straight.

“I think the biggest thing is we’re lucky it happened here in Texas, where on the straight you can land a Boeing 747 on the straight, it’s that wide. So, there was plenty of room for other guys to go, but if it happened at Jerez I don’t think the results would have been [good].

“For sure I think that and the fact they were thinking about starting the race again was stupidity.”

Following antics on display during the Barcelona race Miller mentions, team bosses were hauled in front of Race Direction and warned about their riders’ behaviour.

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