Furious Raul Fernández Criticizes "Idiotic" Bike Change Rule
After a botched bike swap and a long lap penalty in Japan, a furious Raul Fernández criticizes the MotoGP’s current bike swap rules.
Spanish MotoGP competitor Raúl Fernández found himself in the 9th position at the Japanese Grand Prix in Motegi, even though the race was cut short.
When the race halted due to a motorcycle change in lap 12, Fernández was trailing the leader, Jorge Martin, by eleven seconds in 9th place.
However, Fernández was penalized with a long-lap penalty for deviating from the designated corridor in front of his box during the bike change.
“Honestly, I was furious after the race,” complained Fernández and then explained, “We simply need to improve in this aspect – we are in the best championship!”
“The rules we have sometimes are really idiotic! Sorry for what I am saying and also to the people who might feel offended. But it destroys a rider. We need to improve the penalty system!”
More warnings, less penalties
Fernández suggested, “When we have this kind of situation, there should be a warning – it wouldn’t destroy anything! If it happens three or four times, then it’s okay. But a long-lap penalty in this case is truly foolish!”
“I’m happy with the work over the weekend, honestly. The team did a fantastic job, every single one of them. I was fighting for 6th place in the race; I was behind Zarco, who was in 6th place. The penalty was just not fair for me at that moment.”
“We need to improve – after all, we are in MotoGP. Sometimes, it feels like we are behaving like children. I don’t usually talk like this, but I am very upset today.”
“The red flag was okay for everyone; it wasn’t safe on the track anymore. But at that moment, we shouldn’t have restarted the race!”
“I can’t say more. Maybe my opinion won’t change anything, but I have to say it! Already, during a weekend, you have 20 people behind you, all fighting for a good result. Something like this shouldn’t ruin a rider’s race.”
Fernández then recounted, “I almost touched another rider in the pit lane because so many riders were entering the pit at the same time. I turned in a bit too early towards my spot. The rule is sometimes unbelievable!”
“There’s your own starting number and a line on the ground indicating where you have to turn into the box. I turned in a bit too early and crossed that line.”
“Okay, I didn’t do it right; it was my first flag-to-flag race too. But that shouldn’t be a long-lap; it destroys the rider. If you cross that line, there should be a warning, but you immediately get a long-lap penalty! That’s just the rule. I’ve seen riders penalized for entering the box too fast. Okay, I understand that.”