Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaro has had his last run of MotoGP™ FP2 at the Motul TT Assen cancelled for a technical breach. The sanction means that, rather than being second on the combined timesheet after Friday’s running at the TT Circuit Assen, the Spaniard is now officially slowest in the 25-rider field. Espargaro will therefore be relying on FP3 to be dry to give himself a chance of avoiding Q1, a fate which could be a big blow for his World Championship hopes.
Stewards found that his RS-GP had been running with a rear water spoiler (add-on) whilst using slick tyres on both the front and rear wheels, a breach of Article 22.214.171.124.10.e) of the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship Regulations. With Espargaro’s last run cancelled in its entirety, he loses the 1:33.452 which he set with the chequered flag out and is the only rider in the field without an official lap time on a slick tyre. Instead, he reverts to a fastest lap time of 1:41.360 which he clocked on his previous run, while on wet tyres.
One rider facing a penalty with a sting which cannot be lessened by good weather is Quartararo’s team-mate, Franco Morbidelli. The Italian has been handed a Long Lap penalty for Sunday’s race after being found to have been riding slow on the line on two occasions in FP2. Morbidelli, officially 17th-fastest after practice, has been slapped with the sanction after already being given a verbal warning at the last Grand Prix.