Leading MotoGP riders have echoed Formula 1 drivers’ calls for championship chiefs and broadcasters to stop showing replays of serious incidents during red flag situations.
The issue came to the forefront on Saturday at MotoGP’s Portuguese Grand Prix, when Pramac Ducati rookie Jorge Martin suffered broken bones in a high-speed fall during third practice.
Martin crashed in the high-pressure final five minutes of the session, when riders were attempting to set times that could take them directly to Q2 at Portimao.
Suffering a broken hand, wrist and ankle in the fall, Martin spent a long time receiving medical treatment in the gravel before being taken away in an ambulance – all while live pictures broadcast the scene both to viewers and to his fellow riders in the garages.
It’s a situation something that MotoGP riders have drawn attention to in the past, with criticism of the TV shots aired to them during the red flag caused by the high-speed collision between Franco Morbidelli and Johann Zarco in last year’s Austrian Grand Prix.
The topic became a major talking point in the F1 paddock last year when Daniel Riccardo hit out at how footage of the fiery crash suffered by Romain Grosjean at last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix was used.
Ricciardo declared he was “disgusted and disappointed with Formula 1” for choosing to show the replays “as they did, and broadcast replays after replays after replays of the fire, his car split in half” before the race restarted. His recent criticism of F1’s social media output was on similar territory.
It was Riccardo’s friend and Portimao polesitter Fabio Quartararo who led the criticism in the MotoGP paddock today.
Asked for his views on the use of crash replays by The Race, Quartararo said he leaves the garage to avoid them, saying they don’t just have an impact on the riders but also on their loved ones watching from home.
“Honestly, I go outside the box,” Quartararo admitted.
“I just go out of the box and wait. It’s not great, and I feel for the families too.
“They put up if the rider is conscious or not, but that’s it.
“We had four or five minutes left in the session, we had to push like hell in time attack mode, and it’s not a good idea to put the crash on replay every time.
“We know he had a big crash, we saw him on the ground, and I think that they’re images that aren’t great to see, for us or for the families who aren’t here to know.”
That sentiment was echoed by Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro, who is a close friend and neighbour of Martin as well as now a MotoGP peer.
Espargaro admitted that while it was a little easier for him as he was able to find out Martin’s condition quickly from their shared manager Albert Valera, it came at the worst possible time in the MotoGP weekend.
“Jorge is my friend,” Espargaro said, “and I suffered a lot with him when he was fighting for the title in Moto3 and again today when I saw him in the gravel.
“The people around me told me that he was OK, and that it was a matter of broken bones, because he was conscious.
“But apart from him, FP3 is always the most difficult session with so much tension for the riders in the last 10 minutes.
“So to be in the garage waiting for the red flag, I felt like I lost a couple of days of my life.”
Suzuki’s reigning champion Joan Mir said it was “unnecessary to repeat the image a lot” after Martin’s crash.
But not every rider held such a strong view of the replays, with Martin’s Pramac team-mate Johann Zarco admitting that while the footage was unpleasant to watch, he did take some solace from seeing a crash being replayed in the immediate aftermath.
“It means that the rider is more or less OK, because when it’s a really big crash or there are more problems with the riders they don’t show the crash,” said Zarco.
“My thought when they show it is that it means that the rider is conscious, and he was moving in the gravel so he wasn’t paralysed.
“For sure there’s going to be some fractures, because the crash was horrible.
“It’s not nice to see, but when they show it it normally means that there isn’t a huge drama. It means that it’s not OK but that it’s not too bad.”