MotoGP Silverstone: Where will Fabio Quartararo re-join after Long Lap penalty? | MotoGP

Quartararo has qualified an average of fourth over the eleven rounds so far this season, finishing the opening race lap in the same position.

Riders starting a race with a Long Lap must serve the penalty within three laps, meaning by the end of lap 4.

The Frenchman’s average position on lap 4 of the races this season has also been fourth place.

Meanwhile, other MotoGP riders taking Long Lap penalties this year, Jack Miller and Franco Morbidelli, have lost 3-4 places when pulling off track.

Although that would suggest Quartararo could drop as low as 7th or 8th when he re-joins the racing line at Silverstone, the Yamaha star’s qualifying and early race position have improved since the start of the European season (round 5).

From Portimao onwards, Quartararo has qualified an average of third and held second place by lap 4.

If that form continues at Silverstone, where Quartararo took victory from third on the grid last season, the Frenchman will probably drop to around 5th or 6th place after the Long Lap.

The bad news for Quartararo is that, so far this season, he hasn’t managed to finish on the podium from third or lower after the early laps of a dry race (in Mandalika he rose from 5th to 2nd).

In Qatar, Quartararo was 9th on lap 4 and 9th at the finish, in Argentina he was 12th on lap 4 and 8th at the finish, COTA 6th on lap 4 and 7th at the finish and Le Mans 6th on lap 4 and 4th at the finish.

Can Quartararo avoid a repeat of Le Mans overtaking woes?

Quartararo’s fortunes at his home French MotoGP serve as a warning as to what he might face at Silverstone on Sunday.

Having qualified a competitive fourth (+0.238s) at Le Mans and looking to have the best race pace, Quartararo disastrously slipped to eighth on lap 1.

The #20, who has long complained of overtaking difficulties with the M1, then spent the remainder of the race stuck behind title rival Aleix Espargaro, the pair only moving up the order due to mistakes ahead to finish in third and fourth.

Quartararo ultimately missed out on the podium by just 0.106s to the Aprilia rider.

“I don’t feel happy about my race at all. I had three crashes in front of me, so my real position is not 4th, it’s much further back,” Quartararo said at Le Mans.

“If you check every practice, we had the best pace. But then in a race, as soon as you are not able to overtake or to have a clean track, it’s finished.”

“All race we were not able to make one overtake,” Quartararo continued. “All the passes I made were because some riders made mistakes.

“The front tyre pressure went up a little bit, but it was not the main [issue]… On the straight I lose too much. If you lose 5-6-7-8 metres on the straight, I cannot then go 10k faster into a turn to try and overtake.

“So as soon as you make a mistake on the start, your race is finished.”

FIM Stewards: ‘Quartararo was overly ambitious’

Quartararo has received the Silverstone Long Lap penalty for colliding with Espargaro during a fumbled early race pass at Assen.

The incident left Quartararo on the ground and forced Espargaro to run through the gravel, dropping the Aprilia rider from 2nd to 15th. While Quartararo then crashed for a second and final time, Espargaro recovered to 4th.

Espargaro, who reduced Quartararo’s title lead by 13 points to 21 heading into Silverstone, accepted the Frenchman’s apology and felt it was a simple misjudgement: ‘Fabio is not a dirty rider’.

However, the FIM Stewards deemed the incident worthy of a penalty.

‘During the MotoGP race at the Motul TT Assen, an incident between #20 Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and #41 Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) saw rider #20 crash and make contact with #41 at Turn 5,” read an official statement confirming Quartararo’s punishment.

‘The FIM MotoGP Stewards panel deemed Quartararo was overly ambitious in attempting to overtake A Espargaro. #20 was not in a position to successfully complete the move and subsequently crashed, causing contact with #41 and forcing him to run wide.

‘The avoiding action undertaken by A Espargaro allowed him to avoid crashing and rejoin. Nevertheless, his race was severely impacted.

“Quartararo has been given a Long Lap penalty to be served in the MotoGP race at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix.’

Quartararo angry with penalty: ‘Now you cannot try to overtake’

While Quartararo swiftly admitted to making a ‘stupid mistake’ and apologised to Espargaro, he then made his anger clear at receiving the Long Lap penalty for what he felt was a racing incident.

“Well… A long lap for the next race. Now you cannot try an overtake because they think you are too ambitious,” Quartararo wrote on social media the day after the Dutch race.

“From the beginning of the year some riders made “RACING INCIDENT” but apparently mine was too dangerous.

“Congratulations to the Stewards for the amazing job that you are doing.

“Next time I will [not] try any overtake to think about not taking a penalty.

“GREAT HOLIDAYS AND SEE YOU IN SILVERSTONE.”

Yamaha: Fabio Quartararo’s penalty ‘harsh, not consistent’

Quartararo’s team director Massimo Meregalli labelled the decision to penalise the MotoGP champion as ‘not only harsh, but inconsistent’:

“We view the first crash of Fabio as a race incident and feel that Race Direction’s decision to give him a sanction for the next race is not only harsh considering he took nobody down with him and Aleix still scored points, but it’s also not consistent with race incidents we’ve seen in earlier GPs that were left unpunished.”

Lin Jarvis slams FIM Stewards, wanted to appeal Quartararo penalty

A few days later, Yamaha Racing managing director Lin Jarvis joined the chorus of criticism directed at the FIM Stewards for penalising Quartararo.

An official Yamaha statement accused the FIM Stewards, led by former world champion Freddie Spencer, of ‘measuring the severity of race incidents with inconsistent, subjective standards’ adding that ‘at least three more serious race incidents in the MotoGP Class (resulting in riders retiring from the race and/or causing injuries) that were left unpunished’.

Jarvis also revealed that Yamaha wanted to appeal the penalty decision, both at Assen and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) but were unable to do so:

“It is precisely for these reasons that correct, balanced, and consistent decisions should be taken by the Stewards in the first place and executed within the correct, reasonable time frame.”

The full Yamaha statement was as follows:

Yamaha Motor Racing Managing Director & Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Principal Lin Jarvis expresses his disappointment with the long-lap penalty for the upcoming Monster Energy British Grand Prix that Fabio Quartararo received from the FIM MotoGP Stewards panel following a race incident with Aleix Espargaró on lap 5 of the TT Assen race.

Jarvis states, “Fabio Quartararo, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team, and Yamaha have always striven for fairness and sportsmanship in MotoGP. We are disappointed to see the inequality with which penalties are applied by the FIM MotoGP Stewards panel.”

The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team disagree with Sunday‘s decision by the FIM MotoGP Stewards panel for the following reasons:

– Whilst Quartararo has admitted to making a mistake in Turn 5 at the TT Circuit Assen on lap 5, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP view this as a race incident. Quartararo has the reputation of being a clean rider, without a track record of prior incidents. It was an honest mistake without malicious intent.

– Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP acknowledges that Aleix Espargaró‘s race was affected, but the severeness of the impact is a matter of conjecture. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP feel the FIM MotoGP Stewards panel is measuring the severity of race incidents with inconsistent, subjective standards.

The inconsistency with which penalties are applied by the FIM MotoGP Stewards panel during the 2022 season damages the fairness of MotoGP and the faith in the Stewards‘ jurisdiction. There have been at least three more serious race incidents in the MotoGP Class (resulting in riders retiring from the race and/or causing injuries) that were left unpunished.

Jarvis concludes: “We wanted to appeal the decision of the Stewards on Sunday at the Assen track, but this type of penalty is not open to discussion or appeal. We then wanted to raise the issue, as a matter of principle, with CAS (Court of Arbitration of Sport), but equally such a matter is not open to appeal.

“It is precisely for these reasons that correct, balanced, and consistent decisions should be taken by the Stewards in the first place and executed within the correct, reasonable time frame.”

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