Penalties Galore: Takaaki Nakagami Disqualified For Illegal Air Filter, Penalty Points For Cortese And Simeon
Race Direction were busy at Qatar. Penalties were handed out for one incident during Moto2 qualifying practice on Saturday and two incidents during the Moto2 race on Sunday. Sandro Cortese and Xavier Simeon were handed one penalty point a piece, while Takaaki Nakagami was disqualified for using an illegal air filter in his Idemitsu Honda Moto2 machine.
The disqualification of Nakagami was the most far-reaching of the punishments. During the standard technical inspection after the race, Takaaki Nakagami's Kalex Honda was found to be using an illegal air filter. Under Moto2 regulations, only the standard filter supplied with the spec Moto2 engine may be used. Though the error by Nakagami's crew was believed to have been an honest mistake, the rule book is very clear. The Idemitsu Honda team appealed against the penalty, but their appeal was rejected.
The disqualification is a major blow for the Japanese rider, robbing him of a 2nd place finish and 20 valuable points. His removal from the standings move all those behind him up a position, putting Mika Kallio into 2nd and Tom Luthi into 3rd. Given how tight the Moto2 championship is likely to be, the points lost by Nakagami and gained by Kallio and Luthi could well play a significant part in the outcome.
Belgian rider Xavier Simeon was awarded a penalty point for an incident earlier in the race. Simeon went down in a first-lap clash with Josh Herrin, Johann Zarco and Alex de Angelis, and pushed Herrin in an altercation while the two were standing in the gravel. Simeon was judged to have acted in a way prejudicial to the sport, and awarded a single penalty point.
Yesterday, Sandro Cortese was also handed a penalty point for slowing down on the racing line in the last minutes of qualifying. The incident caused a collision between Cortese and Jordi Torres, with both men falling. Cortese was judged to have been at fault, and punished with penalty points. Cortese came off worst from the incident anyway, breaking a bone in his ankle.