2012 Aragon World Supersport Race - Confusion At The Flag

The World Supersport race was red flagged after two riders collided at the start. This would not be the only point Race Direction were required to intercede in the racing today.

Six riders fought at the front for the first few laps until Championship contender Jules Cluzel crashed out of second place, losing the front, trying to catch Kenan Sofuoglu. This gave us a five-rider pack at the front, consisting of Sofuoglu, Fabien Foret, Sam Lowes, Broc Parkes and Sheridan Morais. This pack would remain fairly close throughout the whole race, with Sam Lowes having to fight through from the back to eventually take the lead.

It was at this point that Foret and Sofuoglu were fighting for second place, six laps from the end, in more ways than one. Down the fast back straight, Kenan Sofuoglu slipped past Fabien Foret, turned to look at him and, in what appeared to be a deliberate move, violently slammed into his bike. Notification that Sofuoglu was under investigation followed swiftly.

As Sofuoglu and Lowes battled for first place, ahead of Foret and Morais, Sofuoglu was demoted three places and a board was held out to make him aware of this. Sofuoglu took first place on the track and for a while, it looked like Lowes was trying to pass him, but he decided to let Sofuoglu take the flag, if not the victory.

The final result was a victory for Sam Lowes, second for Foret and third for Morais. Sofuoglu was demoted to 5th place, behind Broc Parkes.

Foret, in the podium press conference, said Sofuoglu may have caught the wind, in what must be the most diplomatic statement of the weekend. Sam Lowes was a little less diplomatic, stating that it was a “stupid” move for a two-time world champion. This is undoubtedly not the last we've heard of this incident.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff
1 11 LOWES S Honda CBR600RR 2'03.318  
2 99 FORET F Kawasaki ZX-6R 2'03.370 1.446
3 32 MORAIS S Kawasaki ZX-6R 2'03.300 4.322
4 23 PARKES B Honda CBR600RR 2'03.536 5.924
5 54 SOFUOGLU K Kawasaki ZX-6R 2'03.525 6.377
6 34 QUARMBY R Honda CBR600RR 2'04.259 16.333
7 31 IANNUZZO V Triumph Daytona 675 2'04.053 19.948
8 3 METCHER J Yamaha YZF R6 2'04.475 22.663
9 14 TALMACSI G Honda CBR600RR 2'04.491 22.889
10 64 DAY J Kawasaki ZX-6R 2'04.779 26.923
11 98 LANUSSE R Kawasaki ZX-6R 2'04.969 35.991
12 87 MARCONI L Yamaha YZF R6 2'05.291 42.337
13 35 DE ROSA R Honda CBR600RR 2'04.685 42.597
14 61 MENGHI F Yamaha YZF R6 2'05.557 1'10.910
15 22 TAMBURINI R Honda CBR600RR 2'04.791 1'16.813
16 17 ANASTASIA R Honda CBR600RR 2'09.244 1'53.578
17 13 LOMBARDI D Yamaha YZF R6 2'05.347 2'27.755
18 73 POZDNEEV O Yamaha YZF R6 2'12.070 1 Lap
19 24 BLOKHIN E Yamaha YZF R6 2'09.227 1 Lap
RET 25 BALDOLINI A Triumph Daytona 675 2'03.903 8 Laps
RET 10 TOTH I Honda CBR600RR 2'05.453 9 Laps
RET 8 ANTONELLI A Yamaha YZF R6 2'04.860 11 Laps
RET 65 LEONOV V Yamaha YZF R6 2'04.992 11 Laps
RET 38 NEMETH B Honda CBR600RR 2'04.552 12 Laps
RET 19 SZKOPEK P Honda CBR600RR 2'06.949 15 Laps
RET 16 CLUZEL J Honda CBR600RR 2'04.106 16 Laps
RET 33 POLZER Y Yamaha YZF R6    
RET 53 DEBISE V Honda CBR600RR    
RET 20 SCHOLTZ M Honda CBR600RR    
           

 

Round Number: 
7
2012
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Total votes: 44

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Comments

Worse than stupid and not the first time he's thrown a tantrum like that.! Should have had an immediate send off! What a dangerous thing to do at high speed. No place for behaviour like that in racing.

Total votes: 97

Even if there was a risky move of Foret on Sofuoglu (which we at least did not see on television), this was completely unacceptable. Ironic too that Sofuoglu of all people has a complaint about somebody's riding style.

I think he should have been black-flagged immediately for such a move at top speed. And I don't understand why he did not even get punished for not taking his penalty of dropping three spots. He was very lucky that he only got the three-spot drop from the second place he was in at the time.

Total votes: 86

Can Forets team appeal the lightness of the penalty?

Total votes: 96

The riders have something like 5 or 6 laps to apply this kind of penalty.
If the penalty is signaled to the rider 5 laps before the end of the race he can't be black flagged, that's mathematics.

The question is, why did they decide to go with these "in race penalties" this season?
We've seen ride through, alright, but who came up with these "give back positions" idea?
The riders don't understand it when it happens, and their teams don't know what to put on the pit-board to make them understand...

Total votes: 86

The rule says that the rider has 5 laps to drop back. If the rider doesn't he gets a ride through.

Total votes: 84

I believe the penalty was not that he had to drop back 3 spots but that he would lose 3 spots from the position he was at when they handed out the penalty. It was actually Foret who was confused about that last race and didn't know what to do. They really need to clarify the rules.

Total votes: 76

I burst into laughter when I heard Foret mention the wind as a possible cause of the incident. He clearly was evading the subject and did not even mention it at first, until asked about it specifically. Brilliant.

Total votes: 87

Yes very funny and very , very diplomatic. Really a case of don't get mad , get even ....by finishing on the podium :-)

Total votes: 87

Wow!

Completely, utterly, unacceptable. (You've got to wonder if the guy is on drugs?)

How the *bleep* was he not black-flagged immediately???

Total votes: 86

Has there been any further word on this? Anything from... Sofuoglu about why he did it (not that there's any real excuse for that...)?

I agree there should have been a black flag shown with his number on it. I also think he should be sitting out the next round as punishment. The "back 3 places" is nothing but a... tap on the wrists. He needs a lot more before the message is going to be driven home, going on his past history.

Total votes: 82

Is everyone commenting on this watching something different? Or is it simply a case of Mob mentality? Everyone and I mean EVERYONE commenting on this post needs to take a step back and really think about what would cause Sofoglu and Foret to touch fairings down the back straight. Really think about why (in the course of racing) a persons head would be turned around.

Here was the sequence of events
1) Sofoglu drafted Foret down the back straight
2) Sofoglu legally passed Foret on rider’s left; a legal over-taking maneuver
3) Sofoglu looked over his right shoulder (this was why helmet was turned backwards) to ensure adequate space for both riders before he was to retake racing line
4) Sofoglu's bike drifted, I repeat DRIFTED, as he turned to look over his right shoulder
5) BAM!!! Foret collided with the side of Sofoflu the second he turned his head around.

Sofoglu wanted to retake superior line and we should give him credit for at least checking for clearance first before making such a move. Hell, Marquez does on every single over-taking maneuver in Moto2 without penalty. He simply cuts them off to block them from re-over-taking.

The two simply collided. They were already mere inches apart and Sofoglu did the sensible thing by checking first. Any suggestion of malice is completely ridiculous and unfounded. There was no reason for Sofoglu to lash out at Foret in alleged anger because the two riders were no where near each other the entire race until that point. Sofoglu was not “getting revenge” and he was not “lashing out” or whatever.

How stupid it was for Jonathan Green or Steve Marten on the world feed to suggest Sofoglu “punched” Foret. For him to “punch” Foret would require him to let off the throttle for at least 2 seconds and Foret would have gapped him significantly if this was the case.

Having said all that, I will say that this could have ended in disaster for both riders given the speed they were going. But I am not arguing about the array of disastrous potential outcomes. I am simply countering that Sofoglu intentionally tried to “run into Foret”.

Total votes: 92

A motorbike moving at 180 mph (or whatever speed they were going at that point) will not "drift over" if you look over your shoulder. It won't even lean unless you push fairly hard on the clipon. That's just physics. They will turn nice and quick at 50 mph, but even at 100 mph it is much harder to change directions. Above 150 the bike isn't changing directions without intentional steering input from the rider.

As for the head check:
(1) Why? I can tell when I've passed someone on track without looking way back over my shoulder. Just a quick glance works if I'm not completely certain I've completed the pass at a trackday, but I don't have to leave a 6' space when racing.
(2) Sofuoglu has never been concerned about whether he has completed a pass safely before - including using other riders as berms to help make the corner - so I don't really believe he was concerned for Foret's safety this time.
(3) A single, quick turn would be sufficient. If he was having to turn so far around that he was "looking backwards" and couldn't control his bike then he would have been completely past Foret anyway.

Sofuoglu has a history of trying to punch riders while racing. No, he didn't try to punch Foret this time, but a couple of years ago, when American Josh Hayes was wild carding at Portimao for the season ending race, at one point Hayes passed Sofuoglu and Sofuoglu tried to punch Hayes.

Suggesting that there was absolutely no malice in Sofuoglu's actions is completely ridiculous and unfounded.

All that being said, I don't actually think Foret is completely innocent either. I suspect that when he passed Sofuoglu they may have touched or he may have even run him slightly off track, but as that wasn't on any camera that I've seen it is pure speculation. But it would explain Sofuoglu's anger and Foret's avoiding the question during his post-race interview.

Total votes: 82

I don't buy that one bit, and I think you'd be hard pressed to find any other rider out there that would agree with you.

On other sites it's being reported that Sofoglu is being silent about it. This tells me he knows he's in the wrong and that any excuse he comes up with will be a lie. He needs to suck it up and admit he was WAY out of line.

Now, if you're a die hard Sofoglu fan, I suppose you could imagine something like that was the case...

Review the following clip at 0:40, Sofoglu does not look over just once, he looks over then swerves into Foret swinging a head butt at the same time. That's not wind, that's an intentional aggressive attack.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNeJXU4SNSI

My bet, Sofoglu was angry that Foret was drifting towards the left (center of track) in an attempt to duff up Sofoglu's ability to out brake him for the tight left hairpin coming up. So in response he tries to shove him back wide.

There's nothing wrong with Foret doing that, it's a common maneuver when somebody is going to try to draft you. Sofoglu's response is by no means common though.

Total votes: 80

I completely agree with you. Had the same feeling the first time I looked at the clip.
Sofoglu got pissed off for being outsmarted by Foret's clever drifting and lost his temper.

Total votes: 79

It was obvious Sofuoglu had a bee in his helmet. Maybe the television camera angle didn't show this clearly enough.

Total votes: 74