Karel Abraham’s Ducati squad explain Misano start drama

By Matthew Birt -

MotoGP

 18 September 2012 14:04

Karel Abraham’s Cardion AB Ducati has issued a statement explaining a how a technical fault seconds before the start of Sunday’s Misano MotoGP triggered a series of events that led to Dani Pedrosa crashing out on the first lap.

Sunday’s 28-lap race was moments away from starting when Race Direction aborted the start after Abraham raised his right arm to indicate he had a technical problem.

In chaotic and confusing scenes ahead of a restart over 27-laps, Pedrosa’s Repsol Honda squad had difficulty removing a front tyre warmer after the wheel jammed.

After failing to comply with pre-race regulations, Pedrosa had to start from the back of the grid, despite having qualified on pole position for round 13 of the 2012 MotoGP world championship.

Pedrosa recovered several places before his world title hopes suffered a massive blow when he was knocked out of contention by compatriot Hector Barbera.

Having cut Jorge Lorenzo’s championship lead to just 13-points after a third win in four races in Brno, he now trails the factory Yamaha rider by 38-points with just five races remaining.

Abraham’s Cardion AB Ducati squad have felt compelled to clarify why the Czech Republic rider suffered a technical failure moments before the red lights were due to go out to start Sunday’s race.

A joint statement from his father and team owner Karel Abraham Sr and chief mechanic Marco Grana wanted to make it clear that neither Abraham or any of his mechanics were responsible for the start fiasco.

The statement read: “We would like to clarify the speculations that have been spreading with regard to an unusual situation which occurred before the start of the San Marino Grand Prix on Sunday, 16 September, and which affect the reputation of the Cardion AB Motoracing team.

"The start of the MotoGP class was postponed due to technical difficulties experienced by our rider Karel Abraham with his Ducati Desmosedici GP12 motorcycle. They were attributed to a faulty clutch piston seal and the resulting hydraulic fluid leak.

"It was a defect of a brand new part, which had been preventively replaced on Saturday evening, as the same problem had occurred with our spare bike.

"Unfortunately, the defect occurred during the sighting lap after the level of the fluid had dropped below the critical level and the clutch became inoperative.

"Consequently, our rider’s engine stalled after he had shifted into first gear before the start into the warm-up lap. Having been given a push by marshals, he made the warm-up lap during which the defect was not apparent.

"It occurred again when he shifted into first gear and the engine stalled again. Pursuant to the applicable MotoGP rules, Karel raised his hand to notify the race direction and the starting procedure was halted right before the start.

"Karel could in no way detect the cause of the defect during the sighting lap and the warm-up lap. Nor could he avoid or defer it.

"Similarly, Cardion AB Motoracing mechanics could not have expected having to deal during one weekend with two identical malfunctioning parts delivered by Ducati Corse.

"We regret the fact that the HRC team had technical difficulties with Dani Pedrosa’s bike as a result of the restart.

"However, there is no direct correlation between our team’s difficulties with the Ducati motorcycle and this unpleasant situation, which resulted in the loss of the pole position, and the subsequent collision between Dani Pedrosa and Hector Barbera.

"Hence, the Cardion AB Motoracing team bears no factual or moral responsibility for the incident. Our team dealt with the situation in full compliance with MotoGP regulations. It is not our fault that the new situation resulted in chaos and the unintentional breach of the applicable regulations by HRC.

"Our team and our mechanics did their best to prepare the bike for the race. By coincidence, we had technical difficulties with two identical parts during one weekend; it would be misleading to blame Karel Abraham, as the rider, or Cardion AB Motoracing mechanics.

"Our team too lost the chance to collect world championship points in Misano due to these technical problems, since we had to use a spare bike and start from the pit lane.”

Abraham suffered a heavy crash on the opening lap of the race and that was also caused by a malfunction with his Ducati GP12.

The statement added: “In addition, due to a malfunctioning rear brake, hydraulic brake fluid leaked onto the rear wheel, causing Karel to fall.

"We wish Dani Pedrosa the best in the upcoming races and we hope that from now on the battle for the title will continue on the track without so many technical aspects.”