Following a nightmare 2019 season, Johann Zarco took his first podium since 2018 on the Ducati GP19 but it wasn’t without controversy.
Zarco was given a long lap penalty following an altercation with Pol Espargaro which caused Espargaro to crash on lap 10.
Espargaro went wide at turn 1 with Zarco moving up to take his place in the race, however Espargaro had other ideas and tried to get back to the line he was on which was then occupied by Zarco, this caused Espargaro to slide out of the race in fourth.
The clash divided many with some believing the crash was the fault of Zarco for not making sure he was further ahead, others believed Espargaro should have checked before moving back onto the racing line.
Zarco was penalised by race direction and was forced to ride the long lap penalty which Paolo Ciabatti felt was ‘totally wrong’.
Ciabatti commented saying “It was a totally wrong decision by Race Direction in our opinion, Pol Espargaro made a mistake. It was the first corner after the riders cross the start-finish line, and the riders see the pit board. So he knew that Zarco was zero seconds behind him. And he made a mistake. He eventually went wide. And Zarco just went inside, his normal line.
“When a rider goes wide and has to come back to the normal line, he should look, because he’s not alone on track, and he saw the pit board for sure. So we cannot understand what was a mistake from Zarco. He was on his line, he was inside, and he could not brake because he was leaning a lot, and Espargaro came back from being wide and went into him. Continued Ciabbati.
“So to us, the mistake is from Espargaro, and he should have been penalised, not Zarco who was doing a fantastic race, and would have finished in second position.”