Romano Fenati Handed Penalty Point For Last-Corner Pass, But Result Stands
The clash between Romano Fenati, Jack Miller and Alex Marquez in the final two corners of the Moto3 race in Argentina has not gone completely unpunished. The Italian rider has been issued a penalty point for the misdemeanour, but the race result will stand unchanged.
The incident happened on the last lap at the final section of the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, turns 13 and 14. Miller had taken the lead from Marquez braking for turn 13, when Fenati came through, bumping both Marquez and Miller out of the way. Fenati held on to take his first victory of the season, Marquez taking 2nd and Miller demoted to 3rd. Miller was incandescent afterwards, saying that he felt he had been robbed of victory, as he had been planning the move to take the lead all lap long, and had the situation under control. Fenati said that his problem had been his front tire, he had lost control which had forced him to enter the corner too hot and bump both Marquez and Miller wide.
Race Direction announced immediately after the race that they would investigate the issue. A hearing was held with all three riders involved, the result of which was that Romano Fenati was issued a penalty point. The race result was allowed to stand, Fenati keeping his win, Marquez remaining 2nd and Miller 3rd. Miller decided not to appeal the result. 'Do you really think a protest would change the result?' Miller asked rhetorically.
Similar last-lap incidents have gone unpunished, setting a precedent to allow riders a little more leniency in the heat of battle on the very last lap. Marc Marquez' clash with Jorge Lorenzo in the final corner at Jerez was a similar incident, but that passed without penalty points being issued. Race Direction later took the view that it may have been better to have awarded Marquez a penalty point at that point in time, but by then it was too late. Awarding Fenati a penalty point while not changing the result of the race appears to be a compromise, discouraging excessively wild passing attempts while still allowing riders to attempt to win a race if they still have a chance.