Sofuoglu / Simon Catalunya Crash Ruled Racing Incident

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.

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Good to see some sensible attitudes.

When I saw the incident that was exactly what thought.......Simon had a different line to the 3 other riders behind him.

I have a suspicion that we won't see any further Race Direction meetings post-race or during a race as it's clearly been an unpopular addition to the spectacle......... unless of course it's absolutely reprehensible (AKA the pass on Terol).

Bring on Silverstone!

Would be to not ride into the bike in front of you. Simon was in front, he had no idea what line the riders way behind him were taking. Just because you are taking a different line does not give other riders license to knock you down. As everyone said when Simo hit Pedrosa it is the responsibility of the rider doing the passing to do it cleanly. You can see Kenan's right foot off the footpeg before the crash so you know he was not using the rear brake to try to slow down.

My concern here is not to see Kenan get a penalty but to have some sort of consistency in application of the rulebook. Rossi took Stoner out with an inside pass in semi-wet conditions. A questionable move but yes, a racing incident so no penalty. Then Simonchelli knocks down Pedrosa on pass attempt gone bad and was penalized. Then we had a penalty in the 125s on an attempted pass around the outside where there was no crash or contact. Now we have a rider crash into another's rear tire for no apparent reason (not an attempted overtake) and there is no penalty. I don't understand the criteria for when a rider is penalized. Is intent a part of it? If you hit someone but are immediately contrite does that forgive any 'irresponsible riding'? I can understand why we don't want to make every attempted pass gone bad a penalty situation but that should not prevent stupid moves from being penalized. Making riders afraid to pass is a bad thing but making riders afraid to do brainless moves does not seem so bad in my mind.


Horrible crash but even to the untrained eye you could tell Kenan just came out of the previous turn too hot and could do nothing, in fact you can see him get on the brake. Clearly he knew what was going to happen and did whatever he could to prevent it. The first thing he did after dusting himself off was rush over to Simon to make sure he was OK and presumably apologize profusely.