Stern Yamaha statement claims MotoGP losing 'fairness' in 2022 - The Race
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Stern Yamaha statement claims MotoGP losing ‘fairness’ in 2022

Jun 28 2022
By Simon Patterson

Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis has launched an extraordinary attack on the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel in an official team statement, as the team continues to battle against the series’ rule enforcers following the penalty handed to championship leader Fabio Quartararo after the Dutch TT at Assen.

Quartararo was assessed a long-lap penalty for the next round of the championship at the British Grand Prix in five weeks’ time for the overtaking attempt on title rival Aleix Espargaro, a move which resulted in the reigning world champion crashing out of the race but only pushed his closest title rival into the gravel, allowing him to rejoin the race in 15th and finish fourth, taking 12 points off Quartararo’s title lead.

Fabio Quartararo Yamaha MotoGP

There was almost universal condemnation of the decision to penalise Quartararo in the aftermath of the race, with former racers lending their support to him and calling the move a racing incident – a defence that the embattled MotoGP stewards have been quick to lean upon this year when not sanctioning other riders for similarly aggressive moves that have resulted in greater consequences.

And while Yamaha appealed the decision on Sunday night – an appeal that was promptly rejected – Jarvis admitted that the manufacturer had even investigated how to take the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the Swiss-based body that acts as the ultimate rule adjudicator in most professional sports series.

“Fabio Quartararo, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team, and Yamaha have always striven for fairness and sportsmanship in MotoGP,” said the veteran team boss in a statement released by the team on Tuesday. “We are disappointed to see the inequality with which penalties are applied by the FIM MotoGP Stewards panel.

“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.”

Aleix Espargaro Fabio Quartararo Assen MotoGP Dutch TT

The statement also detailed why the team believes that a sanction was uncalled for – and drew attention to what has been perceived as the greatest issue with the stewarding panel since former world champion Freddie Spencer took over in 2018: a lack of consistency.

“Whilst Quartararo has admitted to making a mistake in Turn 5 at the TT Circuit Assen on lap 5,” the team said, “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.”

That comment, it seems, is aimed at a number of previous incidents in 2022 where riders have escaped without sanction, most notably Taka Nakagami’s ambitious Turn 1 entry the Catalan Grand Prix that left Alex Rins and Pecco Bagnaia in the gravel, the Suzuki rider with a broke wrist.

Quartararo himself was contrite after the collision, repeatedly apologising to Espargaro – but made his dissatisfaction with the subsequent sanction extremely clear in a social media post.

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