Deniz Öncü Banned For Two Races For Causing Crash In Restarted Moto3 Race

Red Bull KTM Tech3 Moto3 rider Deniz Öncü has been banned for two races, for causing a crash in the restarted Moto3 race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Öncü moved to the left as the pack headed down the straight on the third lap of the restarted Moto3 race, clipping the front wheel of Jeremy Alcoba's Honda, causing Alcoba to crash at high speed, being hit by Andrea Migno and Pedro Acosta. Miraculously, given the speed at which the crash happened, nobody was injured, but the crash was serious enough to bring out the red flags.

The FIM Stewards took a very serious view of Öncü's riding, which went directly against the instructions issued at the start of the weekend. They also regarded it as a deliberate move to try to block Alcoba, which deserved extra punishment. For that reason, they decided to impose a ban of two races, suspending Öncü for the Misano 2 and Portimão races.

The FIM Stewards have been trying to clamp down on bad behavior, especially in the Moto3 class, in light of the spate of deaths which have happened this year. The Stewards have tried a range of penalties to try to discourage dangerous riding, especially during practice and qualifying, but this is the most severe penalty handed out in some time. Whether it will be effective in dissuading Öncü and other Moto3 riders from indulging in dangerous riding, only time will tell.



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A well-deserved penalty, especially since he's been riding overly aggressive all year. This was not an isolated, unlucky incident; it was just a matter of time before something serious would happen with Öncü. And no, he's certainly not the only one riding with high risk in Moto3, but he's definitely been one of the scariest ones, if not the scariest, for some time already.

Hopefully he'll learn from this, and preferably the others too. It was an absolute miracle all three of them walked away with just bruises (I'm pretty sure they'll have those at least!). So happy for that!

... a suitably harsh penalty. that was the scariest thing i've seen since austria. (not counting the ones which resulted in deaths.)

Dennis Oncu has been a dangerous bash and dash rider all season.
The weaving down the straights the M3 guys do has been an accident waiting to happen.
How those guys walked away is miraculous. 2 of the riders looked like they were riding dirt bikes doing jumps.

As an aside I'm not a fan of Keenan Sofulogu's protégés. Both Oncu's and Toprak. They all brake late and use other riders as a berm. Hence the bash and dash. I think this is a direct influence of Keenan as he was an aggressive rider too.


I have noticed that too, that all of Kenan Sofuoglu's protegées have the same aggressive riding style as he himself had. Just barging up the inside, forcing their way through, relying on the other rider to give in or crash out. Toprak Razgatlioglu and Can Öncü basically use the same tactics. Razgatlioglu's barging overtaking moves on Bautista at Laguna Seca and Magny Cours in 2019 were definitely a factor in Bautista losing massive points from Laguna onwards, and then finishing it off in the decider at Magny-Cours. So in my view, Razgatlioglu shouldn't have complained too much about Garrett Gerloff stuffing it up the inside at the first corner at Assen this year. He should and could have made room like other riders so often have to do for him.

Anyway, hopefully this penalty has the desired effect. And by miracle no-one had to get badly injured for the penalty to be given. Good call by the stewards.

Toprak definitly rides aggressive. Even when noone is around him he brakes like a demon. But it seems to me you don't like him which is fair enough. But to say he could have avoided gerloff is crazy. Gerlof has calmed down after assen but before that he was worse than toprak. Why don't you dislike him too?

True, I'll admit I don't like Razgatlioglu very much. At the same time I'm really impressed by his riding skills, how he manages to ride on the absolute limit with so few crashes, and can withstand pressure very well. Still I feel his overtaking style relies too often on others taking avoiding action, that's why I felt he wasn't really in a position to complain much about Gerloff, after his role in Bautista's 2019 crashes. And yeah, I don't dislike Gerloff, despite a couple of mishaps in quick succession. I feel there was also a bit of bad luck involved there, and at least he's always quick to admit his error and apologize. So maybe I'm just a bit more forgiving because he seems such a nice guy off track, it's hard to dislike him...

Fortunately, I'm just a Motomatters reader with an opinion, not an official race commentator ;-)

Oh and sorry for being a bit off-topic here.

Gerloff was penalized by RD, and punished by Yamaha, for the same behavior that Toprak gets away with. Toprak did not bail to the runoff in order to avoid a crash the same way his opponents do.

Toprak's opponents expect him to do a crazy dive underneath, while he just assumes that he owns the line when on the receiving end.  I'm not a Gerloff fan, but he has suffered for his aggression and Top Cat has not.

I do not disagree that TR is the best WSBK rider right now, and he does deserve the championship. But TR as the victim? No.

The kind of crash where lives can be snuffed out in an instant, and right in the midst of the rider safety crisis already having reached a boiling point in the lower classes. Acosta must've traveled 100ft through the air before slamming to the ground at high speed. So happy those boys all walked away, this time.

Could have been a lot worse if it was a bigger group in front. Very happy everyone got away with it. I hope oncu and other riders learn from it this time. Probably not but we'll see. Acosta got in some big accidents this year. This was a massive crash and in assen he got ran over in one of the practise sessions.

I don't think Öncü should take this penalty too personally. 'Too aggressive' is a relative statement in Moto3 and he doesn't stand out from the crowd in that respect. The fact that these riders manage to do exactly what Denis did, race after race, without incident is amazing. This time he misjudged it. Denis's mistake, he gets the penalty. I think the size of the penalty is a message to all the riders and is a result of the actions of the riders as a whole.

Denis's mistake, he gets the penalty. I think the size of the penalty is a message to all the riders and is a result of the actions of the riders as a whole.
This is exactly what's happening

And yet Zarco got nothing for doing the same thing to Franco in Austria.

Slight difference, Zarco had to move over to make the turn or via drift, and he was ahead, Franky got sucked in his draft. Oncu moved over when not ahead. Not that Zarco hasn't done his share of questionable stuff.

Will the stewards take action before crashes that could kill people in future? Riders have been weaving across for too long. I'd like to see black flags for dangerous riding. I don't know if that would have changed anything in this particular race, but if they have that sanction available and use it a few times maybe we'll see less stupidity. 

Agreed.  What I dislike is that things only seem to happen *after* a major incident, and the severity of the punishment is linked to the outcome, which is often somewhat random.  The weaving along main straights has been an alarming problem for years (looking at you M1R!), this incident was inevitable.

The black flag is unfortunately rarely used.  In many ways it's a better punishment than a post-race sanction, as it has an implied shame and comes out during the race when everyone is watching.  If race control are serious about reigning things in - especially in Moto3 - then it should be used more liberally.

Difficult call though, docking someone a potential championship on a judgement call made under time pressure during the race.  I guess that is why they've historically shied away from it.

Just to point out...Öncü wasn't weaving. He got into Alcoba's slipstream after being passed by Alcoba at turn 11. He passes Alcoba down the straight (nearly passes) and slips back into the line. Exactly what every other rider on the grid would do. For that matter it was exactly what every rider on all 3 grids would do. Alcoba seemed a little slow down the first half of the straight, took no profit from the slipstream of Foggia ahead, maybe that situation started to change as Öncü was passing. Öncü misjudged when he had no need to cut it fine. I think a combination of recent Moto3 history and racing on a dangerously bumpy circuit got everybody keyed up for a something big. Öncü's small mistake gave us something big but it wasn't the result of dangerous riding.

He had no need to go back across the front of Alcoba, and when he did he did it too soon. That was dangerous, and if you don't believe me just look at what happened. 

He did have a reason to go back into line. The slipstream from Foggia. Why would Öncü stay outside of the line cutting his own path through the air ? You could be 4th in a line, get a run on the rider ahead, pull out, overtake but stay out and reach the next corner in 6th instead. He made a mistake, he misjudged it. That is the case with nearly all accidents. 

One thing i noticed. In the letter from the stewards informing Öncü of his penalty it mentioned that he rode in a way which broke the advice given to all teams via email. I'm not sure if this merely references the rule book or something more recent, maybe for this race alone. Also the MotoGP riders mentioned that it is not allowed to change line on the straight. Since when ? Do you know anything of this David ?

I think if a rider is not allowed to regain the slipstream after an overtake it can lead to more danger on such a long straight.

Once a rider leaves that line of bikes he is pushing the air out of the way alone. If he does not get back into the line he will start to go backwards....not good. Therefore, it is best to make that move as late on the straight as possible. Pull out, move alongside/ahead and then hard on the anchors for the corner. In some ways it's now an advantage to be outside of the slipstream because pushing the air out of the way helps slow you down but the main thing is, you don't go backwards. So given Öncü's position on the exit of turn 11 and given that he cannot rejoin the line once he leaves it, his best move is to feather the throttle a fraction to maintain position on Alcoba until he is ready to move as described above. What should Suzuki and Migno do then ? For that matter what should all the riders do along the first half/three quarters of the straight ? It leads to a long line of riders all getting into perfect positions to all do the same thing and all in the final part of the straight just before the same riders need to stop as quickly as possible.

Öncü misjudged and made a mistake, he was too hasty to get back in line. I don't know what caused Öncü to get it wrong by 300mm. The Moto3 riders seem to make that move +/- 1mm every is scary to see but it is every race all race. Alcoba didn't seem to get anything from Foggia initially. Maybe he started to get something as Öncü was passing him and that led to Öncü misjudging their relative positions.

Great idea! I agree the impact of a mid-race black flag for dangerous riding should be more impactful than concoted punshment after the race is over. No discussion or opportunity for the rider to defend himself. Just throw him out of the race in the most embarrasing way. It won't take long before a few of the worst offenders get a couple black flags! That might be pretty career ending...

Why wasn't the result of the second race left to stand as the final race result. Shouldn't the winner have been taken back to the completion of the previous lap? Why abondon the whole race as if it didn't exist?

Why wasn't the result of the second race taken as the final positions in the race? Surely the proper winner should have been the leader of the previous lap of the second race before the red flag came out? Were there no protests from the first 3 of the second race?

Curious situation. I think because the second race hadn't completed 3 laps it was null and void.

The first race was red flagged at....6 laps completed ?

That is less than 2/3rds distance (11 laps or 12, rounds up or down not sure).

If the first race completes more than 3 laps and less than 2/3rds distance then it can be declared and half points given.

If possible the race is restarted with a minimum of 5 laps. I guess they chose 5 laps for the sake of time.

If that second race is stopped before completing 3 full laps then the racing is ignored and the third race...if possible...starts with the positions at the time the first race was stopped.

If not restarted then, providing the conditions for declaring a result were met in race 1...then it's race 1 finishing positions. They awarded full points here is my attempt to fudge it out.

Race 1 -> 6 full laps (more than 3, less than 2/3rds)

Race 2 -> 2 full laps (less than 3)

Full race distance should have been 17 laps.

Race 1 completed laps + Race 2 scheduled laps = 11 laps.

Therefore...race 1 completed 6 laps + the unfinished lap of race 1 + 1 sighting lap for race 2 = 8 laps

...and there you have it 2/3rds race distance, full points awarded and the only valid race being race 1.

I mean.....come on !'s simple hahahaha

a slap across the chops with the rule book.

Race two needed to be 2/3rds complete to count.

Tricky with a five lap race.

Only two laps were completed - therefore the race wasn't finished, so no winner.

They never finished lap 3. It was 2 laps of 5 and therefore void. Race 2 didn't matter because they didn't complete 3 full laps....that's the case for all classes. Could be a 1000 lap race it's still counts as long as 3 laps are completed and are completed by every rider on the same lap as the leader. The 2/3rd only concerns the number of points given and the need for an attempted race restart, if possible. It's 3/4's for motogp.

So if you start a 100 lap race which is red flagged on lap 4 and it is found impossible to restart the's declared and half points awarded. If it's red flagged on lap 67, full points.

So if the 3 riders that crashed had suffered major injuries or died, then they would have been racing for no reason at all. It sounds more like they didn't want to run into the time of the remaining races. Or did they still want Costa to get some points? Dorna (Spanish owned) have been making some strange descissions recently. Like the winner of the MOTOE championship, when The Spanish Elvis was knocked off & he still won the championship.

Who knows. A restarted race must be at least 5 laps. They chose 5 laps I presume to help maintain the overall timetable. Maybe after the crash those 5 laps minus the lap and a half already run means less than 5 so impossible to restart. I think they also reduce the remaining laps by 1 to cover the warm up lap for the next restart. If a nasty crash happened on lap 2 of any race which meant no restart then yes, all for nothing. No points. Regardless of how you want to look at it they had to attempt a restart after race 1 because race 1 was less than 2/3rds distance, it's in the rules. Also, they have to have a framework of how to run races and they try their best to cover any scenario such as torrential rain, track invasion etc.

It's all clearly written in the rules, as David documented.  The rules were likely drafted that way to cover the exact type of situation encountered, ie trying to get a race result of some sort and not ruining the meeting for the following classes (which are "more important").  It is actually an example of FIM/Dorna getting it right - having anticipated extremely difficult scenarios and had rules in place to cover them.

The meeting of team managers (and the commentary not knowing exactly why it was decided that way) gave the impression of ad-hoc, but it was exactly as per the rules.

Regarding "all for nothing", see Sepang 2011. :(  Simoncelli's crash was on lap 2 and the race was abandoned, no points awarded.

Declare Moto3 and SSP300 to be no-contact racing, plain and simple, all contact investigated, penalties applied for anything other than obviously inadvertent contact. No more 'rubbing is racing', build a habit of mutual rider safety from the junior classes upwards. 

As "slipstreaming" appears to be one of the main issues can't this be addressed in the technical regs? I read an article , can't remember where, which discussed the very long gearing in 5&6 which allows the bikes to benefit from a slipstream. Someone had suggested limiting the %difference in gear ratios which should make the slipstream less beneficial. If the technical regs can be such that you can make a better lap time running in clean air on your own, then that would help break up the huge packs we see ?