Here's Why Aleix Espargaro Remained Penalty-Free And Brad Binder Didn't
Published: 16th October 2023
While Brad Binder receives two long lap penalties after collisions with Luca Marini and Miguel Oliveira in Mandalika, Aleix Espargaro remains penalty-free for a similar incident. Here’s why.
The Indonesian Grand Prix witnessed high drama and controversy as KTM factory rider Brad Binder found himself in the midst of multiple collisions.
The South African’s turbulent weekend involved not one, but three collisions during the sprint and race events, drawing the attention of fans and race stewards alike.
In the sprint, Binder was taken out by Aleix Espargaro, setting off a chain of events that marred his race. Surprisingly, despite the intensity of the crashes, Espargaro escaped without any penalty.
After the disaster that was the Sprint Saturday for Binder, the KTM rider set out to compensate for the loss of valuable points when bad luck hit the South African for a second time.
Binder came in too hot heading into Turn 9. Unable to stop the bike on time, he touched polesitter Luca Marini causing the VR46 rider to fall.
“I was shaken up in Turn 9, and when I pulled the brake lever, it went all the way to my fingers. I had no brake pressure.”
“I’m very sorry to the entire VR46 team and Luca [Marini] for throwing him out and ruining his race,” Binder explained, expressing regret for his role in the incident.
Leaving Marini in the gravel trap, misfortune for Binder continued as he first had to serve a long lap penalty and, later in the race, collided with Miguel Oliveira, a move he acknowledged was entirely his fault.
“I really have to apologize to him and his team as well,” Binder admitted, accepting another long-lap penalty and full responsibility for his actions.
However, what stirred controversy was the incident involving Binder and Espargaro in the sprint. Unlike Binder’s collisions, which resulted in penalties, Espargaro’s crash into Binder did not lead to any punishment.
The crucial distinction lay in the circumstances surrounding the incident. Espargaro had already crashed at the corner entry and subsequently slid into Binder, making it a unique case for the stewards to evaluate.
The decision to not penalize Espargaro was rooted in a precedent set during the Le Mans race in May. According to this ruling, if a rider causes another to crash through a collision and subsequently takes out other riders, they are no longer penalized.
Binder, demonstrating sportsmanship and an understanding of racing dynamics, did not demand a punishment for Espargaro. He later described the incident as an unfortunate racing accident.