I’ll start by adding my race report here, so you can see some of the other fine performances of the day in print:
But the big talking point in Moto2 was Johann Zarco’s crash into Pol Espargaro.
In FP3 Zarco had gone into the San Dornato turn too fast trying to overtake, the Frenchman then lost the front and collected Espargaro in the process. It was certainly not Zarco’s finest moment, but a 15 place grid position seemed a little hard when you consider some of the moves considered to be nothing more than ‘racing incidents’ in all three classes of late.
Zarco is of course no stranger to being penalised, having victory snatched from him last year in the 125cc class and handed to Terol after he ran into him in the race to the line.
Zarco had managed to finished the session third, his best qualifying result to date, but starts 18th after the penalty is applied.
Despite this he took his penalty on the chin, admitted his fault and apologised to Espargaro showing a lot of heart and humility in the process. Espargaro in turn said there were no hard feelings (he had been dashed off for checks and x-rays and suffered damaged ligaments and swelling to his right ankle) and for all the rushing around and pain he received the best medicine: pole position.
On a personal level, for me the penalty is never the problem, there is a set of rules which dictate an appropriate penalty, it is the consistency in them being handed out. I believe Race Direction are now aiming for consistency with this penalty and that of Bautista in MotoGP, but that has to mean no more second chances for the likes of Cortese and Marquez in Moto3 and Moto2 respectively, both of whom have pushed the envelope of hard racing to it’s limits without sanction as of yet.
Plus, it’s always fun to see the scores getting settled on the racetrack, so here’s to hard safe racing and a good spectacle in tomorrows races!
I’ll finish with Race Directions press statement on the whole affair:
2012 FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
Gran Premio d’Italia TIM : Decision of the Race Direction
On Saturday 14 July 2012, the Race Direction decided to impose on rider Johann Zarco (FRA) a grid penalty of 15 positions for the race in Mugello on 15 July 2012 for riding in an irresponsible manner during the Moto2 free practice, causing danger to rider Pol Espargaro (ESP) which is an infringement to the article N. 1.21.2 of the 2012 FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix regulations.
No appeal was lodged.
The decision of the Race Direction is final.