Quartararo cites late Dupasquier in u-turn: "I should have been black flagged"

Fabio Quartararo has a change of opinion over riding with his chest exposed during the Catalunya MotoGP, accepting he should have been black flagged.

Fabio Quartararo - Yamaha MotoGP 2021

Fabio Quartararo says he has had a change of opinion over the furore concerning his malfunctioning leathers during the Catalunya MotoGP, conceding he should have been black flagged and forced to stop.

The Frenchman’s leathers came undone at the start of the Spanish race, prompting them to billow in the wind and forcing his rib protector to shuffle up his body to reach his neck.

In what was a battling race as he attempted to recover from a messy first few laps, the issue came to a head for Quartararo while running second in the closing stages when he was seen removing the protector and throwing it to the side of the track with four laps remaining. 

That led to his chest being visibly exposed in the final circulations. He’d finish third on the road before a penalty for a track limit violation dropped him to fourth, This became sixth in the hours after the race when stewards penalised him for removing his rib protector.

While it was a punishment Quartararo - speaking before it was handed down - didn’t agree with, the incident drew significant debate over whether he should have been disqualified.

However, with the opportunity to reflect on the race and in consideration for placing safety above all else in the wake of Moto3 Jason Dupasquier’s death in Mugello a week earlier, Quartararo accepts he should have been told to stop rather than risk himself or others.

"I think looking back at what happened… It's difficult to admit, but for me it was a black flag," said during Monday’s post-event test day.

"It's true that I put myself in danger, and also with what happened last week [to Jason Dupasquier], that [black flag] would have been the correct thing.

"The only penalty I don't agree with is the short cut, because I don't feel it's fair. I lost seven tenths, but if I lost one second, the penalty was gone. And how can I know on the bike that I lost seven tenths and not one second?

"So that was a little bit stupid. But I admit the second penalty [leathers]. I was angry of course, but I mean, better this than zero points."

Should Fabio Quartararo have been black flagged?

There is seemingly some precedent to be made here because Quartararo’s incident is, well, fairly unprecedented. Which is surprising in a way because one can imagine there being several factors for something quite simple to occur in this sport.

That will be a question for Alpinestars, though it is worth noting Quartararo does like the air on his chest quite a lot and was photographed before the race catching some rays as he sat on the Yamaha - could he have fastened them incorrectly? We may never know.

Either way it is big of Quartararo to relent on his view and accept an opposing argument - albeit safe in the knowledge he’d already escaped fairly lightly - though the timing with the events of a weekend earlier counts for a lot here.

While ripping the rib protector off is a fault of Quartararo that should have led to a punishment, as it did, surely the onus of blame falls upon the stewards for their inaction. 

Indeed, it is responsible for taking the steps needed to stop the Frenchman, rather than let a racer in the heat of battle do the one thing he would not want to do.

Granted, this only came to a head in the final laps but a black flag on the final lap, harsh though it would have been, was perhaps necessary. It would be a huge decision but there is a clear reason for why.

On the plus side, no harm was ultimately done and - much like any new regulation - lessons can be learned and measures put in place in case it happens next time.

So we can now look at the funny side. Much like Fabio and his superstar nipples.