Jerez MotoGP sprint should have been red-flagged amid crash chaos

In total, 15 riders of the 25 starters suffered falls across the 12-lap sprint, with 10 of those tumbles occurring in about 10 minutes between lap seven and the end.

At Turn 5, Vinales fell on lap 10 having inherited third when Alex Marquez, Brad Binder and Enea Bastianini all had identical front-end crashes the tour before.

Moments after they did this, Marc Marquez crashed out of the lead at Turn 9, while Luca Marini, Stefan Bradl, Johann Zarco and Marco Bezzecchi slid off soon after.

The race was not stopped despite the sudden spate of falls, with Pramac’s Jorge Martin going on to win from Pedro Acosta and Fabio Quartararo before the latter was hit with a tyre pressure penalty.

Most riders noted that there were damp patches in several key places, with Vinales noting that the one he crashed on at Turn 5 was impossible to see.

Asked about what happened, the Aprilia rider felt the race should have been stopped as so the circuit could be inspected.

«At the end it [the track] was 95% dry and the 5% that was wet was completely in the middle of the line,» he said.

«And especially at Turn 5 you could not see with your eyes that it was wet. For example, on the warm-up lap I passed Turn 5 and I just looked back to see where was wet and all the corner looked dry.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing crash

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing crash

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

«So, was impossible to see. Also, last corner it was impossible to see [the damp patches].

«I think after the crash of Binder and all the guys, I think race direction should understand that the track was not rideable for these kinds of bikes.

«I just passed maybe on the same line and then I crashed without any warning. So, we need to really be careful when the track is on these conditions because it’s so easy to make a big crash.»

He added: «I don’t think it’s about luck. It’s about the track, the conditions of the track.

«For sure if I’m in a test I don’t go out with these conditions. I wait till it’s dry. Obviously, it was completely in the middle of the line, so that’s why I say race direction should understand that if we are 20 [riders] – or something like that – and 14 riders crash, it’s because of something. Put a red flag and check the conditions.»

Vinales also noted that riders have been asking for ways to be able to communicate from the bike to race direction to signal if there is a problem on track for it to investigate, but nothing has come of that so far.

Alex Marquez noted that Jerez being slow to dry in places is «typical» of the asphalt there, but says since the track was resurfaced in 2019 Turn 5 has been a bigger issue.

«Yeah, it’s typical, but also for many years it’s been the same problem,» he added.

«So, we need to make something to avoid these things because it’s something there… I think they resurfaced there, I don’t remember the year, but from that point we’ve had this issue.

«So, we need to do something to avoid this because for sure for the spectators it was really fun and was a spectacular race. But for the riders… it was good, but not the things we want to ride.»

Binder says his crash at Turn 5 was a result of him reacting to Alex Marquez falling in front, and in checking up he touched the damp patch.

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Aleix Espargaro, Vinales’s team-mate – who crashed on lap one – doesn’t believe halting that race was the correct solution, but questioned whether it should have gotten underway when it did.

«I mean, yeah, you guys all saw the track conditions,» he said.

«I don’t think the red flag was the solution. Once you start the race, if the track is not getting worse for some circumstances and the track was not worse on the last lap than the first one.

«But the question mark is whether we should have started that race or not. It’s difficult really to have a fully agreed decision between all riders.»

Asked if the race should have been delayed and the track dried out, he added: «I spoke to Loris this morning and he said ‘yes, we are going in corner two and five every time to try to dry up before the sessions, but there was not time enough’.

«So, for me it’s very dangerous to have these super powerful bikes to go out on the slicks when there are some wet patches.

«But it’s difficult also for race direction because how you control that one rider doesn’t put on the slicks at the end of Q2 and risk? It’s too difficult, really.»

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