Zarco punished for 'irresponsible riding' after Morbidelli clash

By: AFP      Published: 04:45 PM, 21 Aug, 2020
Zarco punished for 'irresponsible riding' after Morbidelli clash
Esponsorama Racing´s French rider Johann Zarco rides during the first training of the Moto GP Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg, Austria, on August 14, 2020. AFP

Johann Zarco will start his next MotoGP race from the pitlane after he was sanctioned for "irresponsible riding" following a crash involving Franco Morbidelli last weekend in Austria, the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) said Friday.

"After evaluation it was determined that there was evidence of irresponsible riding from Johann Zarco, which has resulted in a penalty. The Frenchman will start his next MotoGP race from pitlane," the FIM said in a statement.

Ducati-Avintia rider Zarco collided with Italy's Morbidelli at the Red Bull Ring last Sunday. Both men came off, leaving their bikes to cartwheel at speeds of up to 300 km/h (187mph) back across the track.

Morbidelli's machine flew right past the head of nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi leaving the Italian badly shaken and claiming the stray Yamaha "almost killed" him. Zarco denied all responsibility for the crash in which he was, ultimately, the only casualty, injuring his right wrist in the collision. "There should be no sanctions because I did not do anything crazy," he said after the hearing. "You can't do this sport if you don't want to take risks."

The 30-year-old Zarco underwent wrist surgery on Wednesday. He missed Friday's opening practice for the Styrian Grand Prix, also at the Red Bull Ring. Under MotoGP rules he was due to have a medical later in the day to assess his fitness to ride in Saturday qualifying or Sunday's race. If he is allowed to start, he could purge his penalty and have two weeks to recover before the next race at San Marino on September 3.

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