Quartararo blasts Nakagami and MotoGP stewards for opening lap incident

Quartararo blasts Nakagami and MotoGP stewards for opening lap incident

Takaaki Nakagami and the MotoGP stewards have come under fire from Yamaha MotoGP rider Fabio Quartararo for an incident that occurred on the first lap of the Argentina Grand Prix.

When the Sunday race got underway, Quartararo was in 10th place, but he was victim to a divebomb from Nakagami, who sent him to the rear of the pack after sending him well wide.

Quartararo ran in 16th place in the opening lap, ahead of Brad Binder’s crashed KTM. He would move up to seventh place at the finish line, putting in a (perhaps out of character) good performance on a wet course.

In his statement to the print media, he said that he was both happy and sad, adding, that there is always someone that tries to ruin the race in the first lap for nothing.

“I was not that far [off the front] and making that kind of movement,” Quartararo said. “It looks like it’s the last lap! It’s not!”

The stewards looked into the incident, but their report stated “no further action,” which shocked Quartararo.

The same case that happened to Ayumu Sasaki, a Moto3 title contender who was penalized for dropping a spot during the lightweight class race after edging off fascinating wildcard rider David Almansa for second place, particularly irritated the Frenchman over the sanction.

“I don’t understand what they are doing, to be honest,” Quartararo complained about the stewards. “I watched the Moto3 race. Ayumu made an overtake that was for me really clean, but he slightly touched – that in MotoGP we are doing all the time.”

“He had to drop one position… And he [Nakagami] just destroyed my race in one corner, and doesn’t have anything, so… I don’t know.”

“It’s still the same people that are doing these things [decisions], but it must’ve been a change, for sure.”

Nakagami, for his part, felt that he had done no wrong despite being apologetic for the impact on Quartararo’s race.

“From the outside, it looks a little bit aggressive. But honestly, in that moment I thought I can overtake,” the LCR Honda rider said. “Slightly overshot, I missed the apex – but not crazy… It’s not like crazy riding.”

“Yeah, we touched each other a little bit, but this is racing. Nothing to say.”

“Luckily, he also didn’t crash – of course he lost the positions, I want to apologise, but, yeah, it’s racing.”

Quartararo’s performance ultimately proved to be incredibly outstanding, even with the condition that the winner, Marco Bezzecchi, had obviously eased off in front.

The 2021 MotoGP world champion started the race 16 seconds behind the leader but finished only 11 seconds behind.

“I saw the team pretty happy,” he said. “Not usual from my crew chief [Diego Gubellini], seeing him really happy like that. I guess my pace was pretty good!

“And also the overtakes and everything. There aren’t many riders that crashed in front of me. I think we can take some positives from the pace we had in the wet.”

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