A Moto3 team manager has denounced the “unacceptable” behavior of two of his mechanics banned for two races for interfering with a rival motorcycle.
As Tech3 KTM rider Adrian Fernandez attempted to leave the pits during the second part of qualifying for the Moto3 Grand Prix of Aragon in eastern Spain, the two Max Racing team mechanics appeared to cling to the bike to prevent him from leaving the pits. .
As a result, Fernandez stalled the bike and by the time they got him going again he didn’t have enough time to get the track flowing to get back to the start line to start a hot lap.
READ MORE: Cycling superstars set to dominate world championships
READ MORE: Star reported that Rabbitohs win comes at a cost
READ MORE: Swans survive in ‘one of the best games’ of all time
He will start Moto3 racing – the third tier below MotoGP – from 15th place.
The two Max Racing Team mechanics were each banned from two races for the incident.
In motor racing, drivers often look for a clear track during qualifying to maximize the downforce produced by the maps. But due to the underpowered Moto3 bikes and reliance on mechanical grip as opposed to aerodynamic grip, riders often follow each other in qualifying to catch a wake.
The mechanics, perhaps exasperated by Fernandez trying to take a tow on their two riders, then restrained him. Fernandez also rode for Max Racing Team the last tear.
In a statement, MotoGP stewards said the two mechanics “found themselves interfering with and coming into contact with another team’s bike and rider in an aggressive and dangerous manner”.
They were both fined just under $3,000 and delayed two-race bans for the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island and the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.
The mechanic’s boss, former Superbike world champion Max Biaggi, said his two staff would both be punished beyond what is imposed by MotoGP.
“It’s clear to 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 about what happened. They were talking very (mumbles softly)…why? It’s unbelievable.
“I went to Tech3 and asked what happened. They explained to me. I said sorry, I said it was unacceptable and I will take action. So from my point of view, it’s unacceptable.
“(Even if the governing body) Dorna or IRTA are going to, I don’t know, punish one way or another… I’ll do my own in the team. There will be punishment for the behaviour.
“It doesn’t mean anything whether they did it on purpose or not. It was clear to me. And unacceptable.”
Tech3 boss Hervé Poncharal said he was shocked when shown the footage.
“They all follow each other! That’s the game! It’s not the rule but that’s what they do,” he told The Race.
“I think it’s the first time I’ve seen it. It’s like when you have dirty things happening in a football match and you see it live on camera… I think once that you showed it, and I think there were quite a few people who watched it, you know it happened and you can tell people don’t do that again.
“The more input and focus on it, the more some people know it happened and it shouldn’t be done because it’s dirty.”
For a daily dose of the best news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by click here!