Doha Moto3: John McPhee and Jeremy Alcoba handed penalties for 'fighting'
John McPhee and Jeremy Alcoba have both been handed penalties and fines for 'fighting' in the aftermath of their collision in Qatar.
McPhee was taken out of the race by Alcoba's airborne Indonesian Gresini Racing bike at turn one whilst the pair were battling for the lead. Alcoba missed his braking point, consequently hitting the back of Darryn Binder and falling from his bike. McPhee had nowhere to go and was struck on the head by the rear of Alcoba's bike and, for the second week in a row, was taken out of the race.
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The Scot let out his frustration in the aftermath, running up to and then kicking Alcoba, who also crashed into McPhee at Le Mans last season. Whilst TV cameras moved on, footage released from a helicopter camera revealed that Alcoba responded by pushing and kicking McPhee back.
As a result, both riders have now been punished by race direction. McPhee has been handed a pit-lane start plus 10 seconds for round three at Portimao. Alcoba will also start from the pits, although he’ll serve a five-second penalty, rather than 10. Both riders have been fined €1000 for their actions.
Speaking prior to the above penalty and fine, McPhee said:
"I’m gutted about the crash and it's a shame for us to finish the race this way, because of another rider’s mistake. I felt strong all weekend again and especially in the race. I was possibly a bit too cautious in the opening laps, but then I managed to show my real speed and make my way back to the front.
“I had a couple of issues on the way there with another rider, and then finally the incident happened at Turn 1. Everything was going to plan until then. Darryn did a great job though and it’s fantastic to see him on the podium again. Hopefully I’ll be back fighting at the front at Portimão."
The Indonesian Gresini Racing team’s press release described McPhee’s actions as being ‘shameful and unacceptable’, whilst Alcoba commented:
“I’m really disappointed. I made a mistake also due to the surprising move by Binder. I’m sorry because we were having a great weekend. I was in control; the bike was perfect, and the rear tyre was still in good conditions. We need to roll up our sleeves and think about Portugal.”
Riders starting from pit-lane already have a big disadvantage as they cannot leave until the final rider has passed the exit of the pits. These penalties make things even harder because even once the last rider has gone, McPhee and Alcoba will have to wait for another 10 and five seconds respectively.
Of course, rookie Pedro Acosta proved that anything is possible in Moto3 by winning the Doha Grand Prix despite having to start from pit-lane. It took the young Spaniard 11 laps to catch up to the main group, after being over nine seconds behind at the end of lap one, before going on to take his maiden victory and the championship lead.