A Moto3 team boss has slammed the “unacceptable” behaviour of two of his mechanics banned for two races for interfering with a rivals bike.
As Tech3 KTM rider Adrian Fernandez attempted to leave the pits in the second part of qualifying for the Moto3 Aragon Grand Prix in the east of Spain, the two mechanics from the Max Racing Team appeared to grab onto the bike to hinder him leaving the pits.
As a result, Fernandez stalled the bike and by the time they re-fired it, he did not have enough time to circulate the track to make it back to the start line to commence a hot lap.
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He will start start the Moto3 race – the third tier below MotoGP – from 15th as a result.
The two Max Racing Team mechanics have each been handed two-race bans for the incident.
In car racing, drivers often look for clear track in qualifying to maximise downforce produced by the cards. But due to the low power of Moto3 bikes and a reliance on mechanical grip as opposed to aerodynamic grip, riders often follow one another in qualifying to pick up a slipstream.
The mechanics, possibly incensed by Fernandez trying to pick up a tow on their two riders, then held him up. Fernandez also rode for Max Racing Team last tear.
In a statement, MotoGP stewards said the two mechanics were “found to be interfering and making contact with the bike and rider of another team in an aggressive and dangerous manner”
They were both fined just under $3000 and handed deferred two-race bans for the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island and the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.
The mechanic’s boss, former World Superbike Champion Max Biaggi, said his two staff members would both be punished beyond that handed down by MotoGP.
“It’s clear for me – I was there … I didn’t notice because it was quick, I noticed when someone sent me the tweet,” the Italian told The Race.
“I saw. I want to speak with the mechanics what happened. They were speaking very (quiet mumbles)… why? This is unbelievable.
“I went to Tech3 and I asked what happened. They explained to me. I said sorry, I said this is unacceptable, and I will make some action. So, from my point of view, it’s unacceptable. Any aspect, any class, anything.
“(Even if governing body) Dorna or IRTA will, I don’t know, punish somehow … I will do my own on the team. There will be a punishment for the behaviour.
“It doesn’t mean anything if they did on purpose or not. It was clear to me. And unacceptable.”
Tech3 boss Herve Poncharal said he was shocked when shown the footage.
“They all follow each other! This is the game! This is not the rule but this is what they’re doing,” he told The Race.
“I think this is the first time I ever saw that. It’s like when you have dirty things happening in a football match and you see it live on the camera … I think once you have shown it, and I think there were quite a few people who watched it, you know that has happened and you can tell the people ‘don’t do that again’.
“The more input and focus on it, the more some people know that has happened and it shouldn’t be done because this is dirty.”
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