Johann Zarco Handed Penalty For Crash With Franco Morbidelli

Johann Zarco has been penalized for the crash with Franco Morbidelli, which happened during last Sunday's MotoGP race at the Red Bull Ring. The two riders faced the FIM Stewards on Thursday, the Stewards hearing their stories separately. After reviewing the evidence and listening to the riders, the Stewards decided to punish Zarco for irresponsible riding.

The Frenchman will have to start the next race from pit lane. But the penalty does not apply solely to the Styrian Grand Prix, to be held this Sunday. Rather, Zarco is to serve the penalty at the next race where he takes the start. If he is ruled unfit to ride at Spielberg this weekend, then the penalty will be held over until Misano.

Below is the official FIM press release:

FIM MotoGP™ Stewards Notification of Sanction: Johann Zarco

After the incident during the Austrian GP MotoGP™ race involving Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) that brought out the Red Flag, the FIM MotoGP™ Stewards Panel held hearings on Thursday the 20th of August with both riders involved.

After evaluation it was determined that there was evidence of irresponsible riding from Johann Zarco, which has resulted in a penalty. The Frenchman will start his next MotoGP™ race from pitlane.


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Have to wonder if there would have been a penatly without the media crap storm that Rossi and Morbidelli provocated . 

¿ tail wagging the dog again ? 

Rossi influence...afterall Morbidelli ran into Zarco!

Where's Binders penalty?

This is like charging someone with assault for stopping someone's fist with their face. Zarco cut across Morbidelli at the worst part of the track. He's always in some trouble. This is long overdue.

There wouldn't have been a penalty if Zarco hadn't already been at Race Direction's door a bunch of times.

This is Zarco's fourth sanction, and Morbidelli's the sixth rider to have gone down in a clash with him in the last four years (others being Lowes, Pedrosa, Marquez, and Oliveira).

If Zarco can pass the medical tests to be declared to be fit to ride but is not really up to it, he should take the start and then pull into the pits after the first lap.

Presumably Pol's is in the post, or does it not count if you are both on the same bike? Having said that, I imagine that the stewards have much more information on which to base their decision than those of us just watching on the TV.

An accumulation of racing incidents for Zarco going back to his time on the Tech3 Yamaha - he was due for some consequences from the stewards. And I say that as a fan. That being said the stewards need to be more consistent.

Hyper aggressive passes are at the fastest point on the track, especially at RedBull ring, are a bad idea.

I watched today's qualifying to see what kind of lines riders took in the run up to T3 ... as has been commented on, many take a quite wide line and then pull back over to the left to set up for T3.  Its not clear that Zarco was taking a wild line, though his rate of drift after the pass was indeed fast

IMO, his move at BRNO was clean and any rider would have made the same move.  Espagaro should have checked the line after he ran wide.  The incident at Autstia was a different story though.  Zarco has a history of trying moves that are physically impossible or at least highly improbable, and this was one of them.  A late apex makes for a tight exit, while conversly an early apex makes for a wide exit.  For turn two, the correct line is a late apex which allows the riders to keep their bikes further to the left on the exit, to set up properly for turn three.  Zarco apexed turn two very early, which was always going to result in running wide, and the speed of the corner exascerbates the effect, ensureing that he ran very wide.  In the best case scenario, he would have had trouble making turn three in any kind of normal way, as Cal Crutchlow pointed out, but as we saw, the worst case scenario played out and he left Morbidelli no where to go. 

I didn't see any 'correct' lines being taken. I saw riders apporaching the corner in different ways lap by lap, efforts to care for tyres, effort not to crash because tyres were gone. Miller's approach was often a classic, 'yup, i checked the rear brake boss', going wide out of T2 and happily sliding butt first back over to the left.

Just bad judgement at the time maybe, and 110% bad judgement with hindsight. I think the main point post commitment is that from Zarco getting his front wheel ahead of Franco's to contact was....1 second ? Just stop and think about that. It takes that long to read the 6 words in the last sentence. As Franco said, 'we all make mistakes'.

If apexing late means running wide, Morbidelli should have undercut Zarco to counter. Instead he ran into the back of Zarco. You cannot blame Zarco for trying to overtake.

From the images i've seen Morbidelli didn't look to be able to undercut Zarco.

It looked like Zarco kept running wide, to the right, with Morbidelli so close and not being able to change his direction.

Yep.  By the time Morbidelli saw Zarco rapidly moving right towards him, Franco was already hard on the brakes and his front wheel was already even with Zarco's back wheel. No way to slow down any more rapidly than he already was, so his only choice was to go right too, but Zarco was coming too fast for Franco to get away.

but would that than be considered irresponsible riding.....he tried to overtake and that failed. Even if Franco was unable to avoid him, it is still a failed and overambitious overtaking attempt. Not a brake test or anything like that.

I wonder if all these moves are zarco's way of applying for factory ducati seat.

I mean after all, didn't the entire world hear Gigi say he wanted someone more aggressive?

For Morbidelli, one of the mellowest guys in the paddock, to react as strongly as he did immediately after the crash (calling Zarco a half-assassin accordingly to translated text) means that he felt very strongly about the situation that Zarco put him in at Turn 2. The fact that he considers Zarco a friend and that he wants to draw a line under the event means he wants to move on. Justice has been served and the case is closed. 

Just watched the '05 250cc race at Motegi. Jorge received a penalty for irresponsible riding resulting in a one race ban. Looked pretty timid compared to the Zarco incident last Sunday. Actually, the Lorenzo incident in '05 more resembled Marquez at Argentina in '18 or even the Zarco/Espargaro incident at Brno two weeks ago than last week's epic fracas. de Angelis took a wide line and Lorenzo tried an opportunistic pass up the inside knocking them both down. It was a low speed event.

Cannot recall a race ban ever being enforced in the motogp class in the modern era other than Iannone's ongoing saga. What kind of irresponsible riding does a rider have to partake in in motogp to receive a race ban? It's possible that race direction could silence some of the controversy by releasing pertinent information regarding the Zarco/Morbidelli incident. Maybe controversy is good for the sport because it keeps everyone engaged by talking about it. 

I like the symmetry of limping to the pit lane to start the race. Get the penalty out of the way on what will probably be a sub par day. I believe he showed bad judgement. Whether or not this all makes a difference, we will have to wait and see.

Johann Zarco declared physicaly fit to ride for Saturday & Sunday at the Gp of Styria.

It will be interesting to see how his right scaphiod feels & how it holds up under the demands of racing?

My guess is JZ5 will try to race, get the pitlane penalty done this Sunday, where he is likely to be off the pace a bit due to the injury. Then he will be better at the next round & no penalty to serve. Assuming Johann can ride tomorrow's race without incident. I hope he can get through Styria or Austria 2 without another controversial incident. Fingers crossed.

Really pleased to see Franco Morbidelli back on his bike & riding well. Faster than FabioQ and VR46 in FP2 is a good sign.

Can't wait for Sunday if only to, hopefully, return to less fractious discussion.