US star Joe Roberts (OnlyFans American Racing Team KALEX) finished 2nd in the Moto2 Grand Prix of Spain, securing the lead in the intermediate World Cup standings ahead of Sergio Garcia and 3 other Spaniards. While things were normal in the middle category, there was a real scandal in the premier class the day before after the Tissot Sprint Race.

Questionable interpretation of the regulations distorted round 4 of MotoGP

Absolutely unsportsmanlike decisions by officials influenced the outcome of the fourth round of the Motorcycle World Championship. Since the introduction of the much criticized so-called track limits for the 2019 season, the FIM desk clerks soon found another means of subsequently falsifying results in MotoGP with the “Tyre Pressure Regulations”. Some commissioners may have found it a shame that wildcard driver and national idol Dani Pedrosa (Red Bull KTM) cut his teeth on Fabio Quartararo in the final phase of the sprint race. After crossing the finish line, the Frenchman was still celebrated as third after the sprint race. But as with Jonathan Rea in WorldSBK on June 8, 2019, a scandal broke out some time later when the FIM subsequently transferred him back under flimsy arguments. Pedrosa inherited the position of the Yamaha pilot from Nice, which meant that to the delight of his compatriots and the Dorna three Spaniards, the podium places were shared among themselves. What was particularly confusing was the fact that it wasn’t Quartararo who had been in someone else’s slipstream for laps, but rather the little Spaniard in his own. This is exactly why this problem should have arisen with Pedrosa, which means that the FIM stewards are once again suspected of manipulation. Aside from that, it is absolute nonsense to penalize a driver for something that is impossible for him to control in the heat of the moment.

Start of the MotoGP with Marc Marquez (Gresini Ducati) starting the race from his ninety-third pole position – perfectly matching his starting number. His crash while in the lead in the sprint race was followed by his first Grand Prix podium on Sunday, which was of course wildly celebrated by the home fans.

Falls in sprint races that are not your fault raise questions

It wasn’t enough that, from the point of view of Fabio Quartararo’s countless fans, third place was subsequently stolen from him in an incomprehensible way, there were further scandals at the third round of the World Cup in Jerez de la Frontera. Although it was bad enough for racing that a driver from 23rd place on the grid reached the (in the case of the sprint race only symbolic) podium, which was taken away from him again through highly questionable decisions. At this memorable event in Andalusia there were also crashes that should never have happened. The reason for this were damp spots, which became a trap for some drivers, which in the case of Turn 5 caused a scene that is otherwise only known from cases with oil on the track. So it happened that Enea Bastianini and Brad Binder, led by Alex Marquez, also ended up in the gravel trap. What could have ended in death a few decades ago was, fortunately, injury-free. But for them, as well as for Maverick Viñales, who later fell under similar circumstances, this should not be a consolation. Somehow the race in Jerez de la Frontera on Saturday, April 27, 2024 seemed more like a lottery than a race for the World Championship.

Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) ahead of old champion Dani Pedrosa (Red Bull KTM). Not for the first time in his MotoGP career, the likeable crowd favorite felt betrayed by the FIM commissioners on Saturday evening after the sprint race. The Spanish pilots and arch-rival Bagnaia, on the other hand, often go unpunished even for what the majority of experts and commentators believe are clear violations.

The most hair-raising Motorbike racing rule in history in detail

In order to get to the bottom of the reason for Quartararo’s relegation from his hard-fought third place to P5, the most hair-raising rule in motorsport history is briefly explained here: “The revised tire pressure rules mean that drivers are now responsible for 60% (instead of 50 %) of a Grand Prix distance or 30% of a sprint must stay ahead above a lower minimum value of 1.8 bar (instead of 1.88). Anyone who has ever watched a motorcycle race live or even on site should definitely let this formulation melt in their mouth. Over just 12 laps in a sprint race at the absolute limit, no mortal can really think about such abstract rules for even a fraction of a second, let alone take them into account. Similar to the “Track Limits”, this madness was clearly introduced as a tool to enable desk clerks to manipulate results at will. There have been enough examples of this in the past (see also our reports from MotoGP races such as Mugelllo 2021, when the FIM stewards arbitrarily handled the application of fundamentally questionable new regulations in order to literally manipulate the results on the racetracks. Back then, Johann Zarco have to be on the podium and Miguel Oliveira and Joan Mir were placed behind the French in the last lap due to track limit violations.

When millions of spectators were able to watch the 2021 MotoGP Grand Prix of Italy in Mugello as Miguel Oliveira (KTM) and behind him Joan Mir (Suzuki, in front of Johann Zarco on a Ducati) drove over the forbidden green area and then escaped without a time penalty. It was completely different in the Moto2 race before, when this penalty prescribed by the regulations was applied to the same incident and a time penalty was imposed for the “sinners”, which resulted in a demotion. Actually, after this last lap in the picture, Johann Zarco should have been second instead of fourth.

The results – absolutely irrelevant and pointless

Against the backdrop of what many fans believe is a manipulated World Cup, the results become irrelevant. For this reason, we will not summarize the results here and probably for the rest of this season. After considering the mistakes made by officials in the earliest years of the motorcycle world championship, this decision is easy for us. If you don’t understand what this means, we recommend our reporting on the earlier years of the World Cup. Even today, researching the 1950s (see the reports on this page) still leaves us standing on end. Idols like the then racing idol Geoff Duke were banned from the racetracks because they showed solidarity with private drivers who demonstrated against the outrageously low prize money. Unsurprisingly, the FIM, as the highest motorsport authority, played a more than just questionable role back then. This has not changed to this day, only the methods have apparently become more perfidious, with which officials can influence the results at will.

Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact, on a KTM) at the goal of his dreams – at the home race of the countless Spaniards, of all places, the Dutchman achieved his sensational victory in Moto3, while favorite David Alonso from Columbia suffered a bitter setback in a crash.

The sensational rookie disenchanted in the home Grand Prix

We recently warned against heaping too much praise on the young Pedro Acosta, as the majority of rapporteurs are currently doing. After the young Spaniard owed his second place in the sprint race mainly to the falls of pilots in front of him, he no longer seemed to be able to cope with the pressure from the public and almost 300,000 fans who had traveled on Sunday. A high-speed crash in the warm-up on Sunday morning and thanks to a few more crashes by the rider ahead of him, a modest tenth place followed in the Grand Prix of Spain. This means that the balance after his first 8 races of the season is undoubtedly looking more and more modest compared to Marc Marquez in his rookie year in 2013. The 6-time world champion had already won his second GP and also won his eighth race, having been on the podium every time with just one exception. Acosta is very far away from that and that is precisely why one should not compare his achievements with those of Marquez, who also won the title straight away in his first season.

When the world was still in order for Pedro Acosta (GasGas KTM) and he was allowed to be celebrated by the audience after P2 in the Tissot Sprint Race. The next day, however, the 19-year-old rookie ate hard bread and suffered a bitter setback in his flight to the premier class.

Unless otherwise stated, this applies to all images (© MotoGP).