MotoGP: Keith Huewen: “Good guy” Freddie Spencer’s position has become untenable | MotoGP
After discussing the huge crowd of 400,000 for the Silverstone F1 race and what would help MotoGP reach that kind of level, podcast host Harry Benjamin asks Huewen and crash.net MotoGP Editor Pete McLaren on Yamaha’s “official statement” strongly criticizing Fabio Quartararo’s Long Lap penalty.
The MotoGP champion and title leader is due to serve his sentence at next month’s Silverstone round after FIM Stewards deemed Quartararo “too ambitious” by colliding with Aleix Espargaro in Assen as he “was not able to succeed”. movement and subsequently crashed”.
Espargaro was forced off the track, costing the Aprilia rider the chance for a podium. But he still moved up to fourth and thus took 13 points off the title lead from Quartararo after the Frenchman, already at the back of the pack due to a damaged bike, fell for the second and final time.
While there had already been a chorus of rider criticism over penalty decisions this season, Assen was different in that Yamaha team management also became publicly involved.
Team manager Massimo Meregalli called Quartararo’s penalty ‘severe’ and ‘inconsistent’ before an official statement about it was released by Yamaha Racing Managing Director Lin Jarvis on Tuesday.
“We are disappointed to see the unevenness with which penalties are applied by the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel,” Jarvis said.
The statement adds that the team “believes that the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel measures the seriousness of racing incidents with inconsistent subjective standards… [which] damages the fairness of MotoGP and the confidence in the competence of the Stewards.
“There have been at least three more serious racing incidents in the MotoGP class (resulting in riders dropping out of the race and/or causing injuries) which have gone unpunished.
Jarvis added that Yamaha “wanted to raise the matter, as a matter of principle, with the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport), but such a matter is not subject to appeal. It is precisely for these reasons that correct, balanced decisions and consistent must be taken by the stewards in the first place and executed within a correct and reasonable time.
“Dirty laundry in public is never a good thing”
Former Grand Prix rider and British champion Huewen has defended Spencer, leading the panel of three FIM stewards, but nevertheless believes the level of sustained criticism means Spencer’s position has become untenable.
“Dirty laundry in public is never a good thing, and we’re now in a situation where Lin Jarvis gets involved in that way,” Huewen said.
“We are dealing with high-powered, intelligent people. And here we have a public bashing session, blaming the scapegoat that is Freddie Spencer, who is a legend and I will never disrespect Freddie Spencer.
“Freddie’s opinion is as valid as anyone else, although he may be a little more wrong about the cause of an accident than its consequences, as you said last week , Pete.
“Was the cause of the accident important enough to deserve a penalty? If you look at the consequences of the accident, no it wasn’t. But the cause was that Quartararo was hotter than Nakagami at Barcelona .
“But why do we have to do our laundry in public anyway? If they are not happy with the way the FIM Stewards operate, why aren’t they handling this behind the scenes in the right way?
“If they [the Stewards] aren’t good enough, they should get shot. Michael Masi made that call that cost Lewis Hamilton an F1 championship, or gave Verstappen a championship. Whatever you want to say about his decision, the fact is, quietly and behind the scenes, they processed it, put it aside, and it was all sorted.
“Someone will always have to make a decision”
“Something like that has to be sorted out here, but then you come back to the root issue. The race is the race. Do you turn around and say ‘OK, you can shove it in and knock people over and burst into people without any penalty? ‘
“There will always have to be a penalty. Someone will always have to pass judgment. It’s not like green paint [track limits] situation where you have a sensor and if you exceed it, you get a warning.
“It’s a situation where it’s an opinion and it always will be an opinion. We can’t cover it clearly, from every angle, to scientifically analyze the bike data against the images we see, we’d be here for a month trying to figure it all out.
“It was clear Quartararo came in hot, was a bit wide, Espargaro released. Should he have had a penalty for that? Probably, that’s my opinion. But my opinion is worth absolutely nothing, like everyone else commenting on this right now.
“This is a situation where the call was made by the FIM Stewards. If you don’t like the marshals call, you need to change the system – if it doesn’t work for teams, riders and everyone else.
“Freddie Spencer’s position has become untenable”
“I agree that Freddie Spencer’s position has become untenable now. And if I was Freddie Spencer, I would quit, just on principle, given that I don’t seem to have the confidence of the riders or the teams now,” Huewen continued.
“Once the big guns come out like Lin Jarvis and start throwing big grenades at them, you’re screwed, really.
“Let me add one more thing; no one wants this job. When they got Freddie Spencer, I knew who the candidates were before and nobody wanted to do it. Nobody wants to do it yet.
“It’s very good to use Freddie Spencer as a scapegoat. It’s kind of like, he’s the guy we all love to hate for a decision that was made by three men. And, expand it, too by Dorna and IRTA, giving the stewards the powers they have to make that decision.
“He’s a bigger thing than Freddie Spencer, and that’s what pisses me off when people shoot Freddie. Freddie is analytical. He’s a good guy. He’s not biased in any way. He does the job the best he can, given the situation he’s in, and he makes a call.
“His appeal was that Quartararo had passed the mark enough to deserve a long lap penalty. he was braking in the same place as everyone else, but still lost the front.
“Obviously another mistake, but there was no overtaking if you will by Nakagami when he was on the corner. Anyone could have lost the front at that particular moment in that particular circumstance, that’s as well as Freddie read it.
“It’s an impossible task [facing the FIM Stewards]a poisoned chalice – take a sip if you feel like it!
“If they paid me 20 times what Freddie gets, I wouldn’t be doing this job.”
“Imagine the sleepless nights he spends”
“I think this will probably be Freddie’s last year as a steward and, to be honest, I think he’d be damn happy to be out of there.
“I mean, you can imagine the criticism he’s getting and the sleepless nights he’s having because of the whole thing. Personal insults to a guy used to adulation in the past. It’s awful, absolutely awful and unjustified in my opinion.
“Freddie Spencer is doing a job to the best of his abilities. Obviously some riders are unhappy with him. Some of the calls he’s made don’t sit well with them – passengers are never happy!
“But it’s a situation that once it ignites and goes viral, especially with social media, you get some sort of campaign against an individual.
“Freddie Spencer wouldn’t want to look at his Twitter feed or anything for the amount of insults and stuff he’s getting right now. It’s like a big bullying situation.
“Yeah, if there’s a problem with the marshals, let’s fix it, but it’s bigger than three guys sitting in an office on a racetrack.
“The question now is what is the sport going to do to replace the stewards they have or replace the penalty system they have?
“You need consistency. This is the main argument. I agree, the current system isn’t great, but how are we going to fix it? How will Dorna, IRTA and the teams come up with a better system? »
“The problem is that the Long Lap is dragged to Silverstone”
Pete McLaren felt that Quartararo’s situation was magnified by the fact that the Long Lap penalty was not imposed during the race itself and would instead be dragged out to Silverstone:
“One of the aims of separating the Race Direction from the penalty side, by creating the FIM Stewards Panel, was that penalty decisions could be made more quickly, ideally during the races where the incident occurred.
“That way everything would be done and dusted off and you could draw a line under it, rather than having a penalty carried over to the next event, as happened. [under the old penalty points system] at Sepang 2015.
“But here we are still in this situation, where Quartararo’s penalty was given two hours after the incident and so the punishment now drags on until the next race, in a month.
“Quartararo retired 15 minutes after the Espargaro incident, so maybe he just didn’t have time during the race. But if Quartararo had been given the Long Tour to serve in Assen, the commissioners would have argued that it was something they felt should be punished, when in reality Quartararo was already so far away that it wouldn’t really have of importance.
“Now it almost feels like a double penalty because Quartararo has already lost a lot of points at Assen and now he’s going to have to do the Long Lap penalty at Silverstone on top of that.”
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