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It was a terrifying incident that, thankfully, everyone was able to walk away from. After contact with Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) on COTA’s 1.2km back straight in the restarted Moto3™ Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas race, Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) crashed. The incident saw Alcoba go down in front of the chasing pack, with Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) and World Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) unable to avoid Alcoba’s stricken Honda.
The trio of riders who crashed heavily at high speed – Alcoba, Migno and Acosta – were able to walk away, as the second red-flagged Moto3™ race of the day ultimately led to Izan Guevara (Solunion GASGAS Aspar Team) securing a maiden Grand Prix victory. Later in the afternoon, the FIM MotoGP™ Stewards confirmed that Öncü was deemed to have caused the crash, and therefore handed the Turkish rider a two-race suspension.
At the end of Sunday’s action in Austin, some of the MotoGP™ riders had their say on what had happened.
Marc Marquez: “Of course today was a scary moment and on the TV… I mean everybody in my box was silent because you never know and it’s a difficult season for the motorcycle world. But it’s true that it was the mistake or movement of one rider that created all these things.
“So I think it’s a very strong penalty of course, of course it wasn’t intentional of Öncü, but it’s true that they must go on that way if they want to stop these movements. You can’t change your line too aggressively in the middle of the straight because you can create these things. For me, this is the way, especially in the small categories, to stop these movements.”
Fabio Quartararo: “Yes, the last three accidents we had have been in the small categories. It’s true that for them the slipstream is really important, but you can’t change your line on the straight. For me, you need to think well about the strategy you need to have in Moto3, but you can’t make that. For sure it wasn’t intentional by Deniz, but unfortunately we need to have – I think – big penalties that have some strange movements on the straight especially.”
Francesco Bagnaia: “It’s not the first time we’ve seen something like this in Moto3. In Barcelona also, Rodrigo did the same but with more luck, because there wasn’t an accident. We are seeing a lot of strange movements, we are also lucky that here the straight is very large and the wall is a bit far. And nothing. It’s good he received this type of penalty, but it’s the only way for sure to start to change something, but they have to think of something more because like this, it will always be very dangerous.”
Valentino Rossi: “So, I don’t want to say about Öncü or another rider, but for me the penalty is right. They had to do something. It’s a minimum that he has to spend two races at home, because they have to do something serious because the situation is completely out of control for me.
“Öncü moved in the straight when he knows he has another rider alongside and cuts across. That potentially was a mortal crash. I was very scared for everybody. Acosta made a terrifying crash and they are very lucky nothing happened. But they have to do something serious with these young guys from the beginning. The situation has to change before something happens. Motorcycle racing is too dangerous to have this behaviour on track.
“You have to respect your safety and the safety of your rival, and this is the most important thing than gaining one position because here you play with the lives of young guys and it’s potentially a disaster.”
Joan Mir: “About that, I saw the face of Deniz. He was just destroyed before on the end of the first race. He just didn’t make it on purpose. He’s not the only one that does this manoeuvre. I think that the penalty is not only for the manoeuvre that he did. It’s just more that the others stop doing this. It’s just a model of punishment. So, I agree with that one. We cannot have these type of manoeuvres anymore.
“We lost this year a lot of kids and today we almost lost another one. So, we have to take some good decisions because these categories, the small ones with those bikes that are so easy and the big groups, I think that this is becoming so, so, so dangerous. There’s not any leader on that Championship that he breaks away and does this stuff. The groups are always really big. I was not happy before my race. It’s not easy for the riders to see such a crash. I don't know what will be the measure, but we will need it soon because if not, it will happen some bad thing again. It’s like this.”
With the race declared a result at the end of the first red-flagged stoppage, Acosta takes a 30-point advantage into the Gran Premio Nolan del Made in Italy e dell'Emilia-Romagna over second place COTA finisher Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing).