Another race, another rider meeting with Race Direction. After Marco Simoncelli being called to speak to Race Direction after the crash in Le Mans, this time it was the turn of Kenan Sofuoglu and Julian Simon. Sofuoglu had run into the back of Simon at Catalunya, causing the Spaniard to crash and causing a very nasty multiple fracture.
The meeting had been contentious, especially as the Spanish press had been baying for Sofuoglu's blood. But while Sofuoglu had immediately run over to apologize after the crash, and had indeed contacted Simon personally to express his sympathy for putting Simon into the predicament he had, Sofuoglu and the team were keen to point out that Sofuoglu had not entered that corner any faster than normal. The cause of the problem, Sofuoglu and his team had said, was that Simon was entering the corner a little slower than normal, and on a slightly different line. Sofuoglu's error, the Technomag CIP rider conceded, was to find himself too close to Simon to be able to take evasive action.
At the meeting at Silverstone, attended by Sofuoglu and Gino Borsoi, sports director of Simon's Mapfre Aspar team (Simon himself unable to attend as he is still in hospital recuperating after surgery), Race Direction reviewed the evidence available and agreed with Sofuoglu's version of events. Both Sofuoglu and Simon had told Race Direction that they viewed it simply as an unfortunate racing incident with nasty consequences, and Race Direction concurred, reaching the conclusion that Sofuoglu had made every possible effort to try to avoid the collision, but had been unable to.
No sanction was consequently applied, there being no harm done. Simon has been especially magnanimous after the event, replying to Sofuoglu's text message with a message that there were no hard feelings about the incident. Simon's father had reiterated the sentiment, echoing his son's generosity of spirit.
The affair is now concluded, but with Race Direction issuing two summons in two race weekends, the affairs may start to have an effect on the rest of the paddock. The racing will almost certainly remain fierce, but it might provoke just a fraction of a second's extra thought from riders before attempting exceedingly aggressive passes.
The official press release from Race Direction is shown below:
Statement of the Race Direction
Hearing regarding Catalunya Moto2 Race
The Race Direction yesterday met with rider Kenan Sofuoglu (TUR) and Sports Director from MAPFRE Aspar Team Gino Borsoi (ITA) to hear their explanations about the collision between rider Kenan Sofuoglu and Julián Simón (ESP) during the last week Moto2 race of the Catalan Grand Prix.
After listening the comments of both parties and watching a video of the incident the Race Direction concluded that rider Kenan Sofuoglu made every possible effort to try to avoid the collision.
No sanction was inflicted.