Rossi/Stoner Jerez inquiry not a blame game

By Matthew Birt -

MotoGP

 13 April 2011 10:27

An inquiry into the immediate aftermath of the controversial recent Jerez MotoGP crash involving Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner will not be a blame game or witch hunt against marshals caught up in the incident.

Stoner was incensed that he was not given the same level of assistance to rejoin the 27-lap race as Rossi was after the pair tangled on lap eight of an action-packed Spanish MotoGP race on April 3.

And the Aussie heavily criticised marshals as well as Rossi for the rash move that ended his fight for a second successive Honda victory.

As a result of the incident, the four-member Race Direction will stage a hearing on April 28 on the eve of the Estoril Grand Prix in Portugal to review what happened and hear the explanation of the officials in charge.

The Clerk of the Course and Chief Marshal at Jerez will both be required to attend the meeting.

But Race Director Paul Butler said the purpose of the hearing was not to apportion blame or condemn the actions of the marshals.

Butler told MCN: “The marshals know what their responsibilities are and the judgement has got to be whether under the circumstances they behaved reasonably or not.

"I wouldn’t want to put myself in the head of a marshal where more than one bike and rider is involved and other riders are rushing past at high speed.”

Butler said he fully understood the frustrations of both Stoner and Honda but that should not detract from the high pressure and dangerous situation the marshals were exposed to.

“I understand those concerns but it could be argued that if you allow outside assistance for riders to restart then it should be as fair and equal as possible. But then human element influences a split second decision.

"Casey was on top and pushed away, Valentino was still down and tangled up with his bike and this might have played a part. Clearly the impact on the riders is massive because if you don’t get going you don’t get points.

"Everybody is racing to be world champion, so you can understand the passion from their side. You’ve got to balance the rider’s emotion with the marshal’s emotion.

"The rider wants to get going but if the marshal is pushing into the racing line, they’ll be the first one to get tagged," said Butler.

For more reaction and debate on the Rossi/Stoner incident in Jerez, see today’s issue of MCN (April 13).