It is the sight every MotoGP fan fears. At the start of lap 9 of the Moto2 race in Portimão, bike after bike went down, bikes firing through the gravel at stricken riders like unguided projectiles. We sat holding our breath until the crashing had stopped, and miraculously, no one had been struck by a bike, the MV Agusta of Simone Corsi having gone up in flames after hitting the Kalex of Zonta van den Goorbergh.
After the race, there was a great deal of debate about the crash. Ten riders had gone down at Turn 2, the leaders of the race the first to go. There was anger in some quarters at how slowly Race Direction appeared to bring out the red flags after the race. With so many bikes ending up in the gravel, and at high speed, it should have been stopped earlier, the critics said.
Should Race Direction have ordered a red flag earlier? To test that assertion, I went back and watched the incident several times, and dived into the analysis timesheet on the results page of the MotoGP.com website. Taking the timestamp from the video of the race on MotoGP.com, I timed how long it took for the red flags to come out.
A matter of seconds