Quartararo reveals why he raced with chest exposed, Stoner calls for punishment

A broken zipper on Fabio Quartararo's leathers lead to problems for the Frenchman, forcing him to race bare chested for the final laps of Catalunya MotoGP

Fabio Quartararo

UPDATE: Fabio Quartararo receives another post-race three-second penalty, demoting him from fourth to sixth. Joan Mir and Mavetrick Vinales rise to fourth and fifth

Fabio Quartararo has revealed his racing leathers suffered a malfunction at the start of the 2021 Catalunya MotoGP race which prevented him from securing them, leading to him riding the last few laps with his chest exposed at racing speed.

A bizarre incident to cap off a frustrating day for the Frenchman, Quartararo came into the race as a hot favourite for a fourth win of the year from his fifth consecutive pole position. 

However, though he got away well he was mugged through the first corner complex by Jack Miller and Miguel Oliveira. When he tried to respond on lap two by passing Miller, his wide exit instead shuffled him down to sixth.

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Nonetheless, Quartararo still had good pace and by lap seven had returned to second place before then relieving Oliveira of the lead on lap 12. However, the Portuguese rider fought back two laps later and thereafter wasn’t headed again as Quartararo’s attack failed to interrupt Oliveira’s flow.

Instead, it was Quartararo that was struggling, an issue that became more apparent in final laps when replays showed him throwing his iprotector to the side of the track, proceeding to ride with his leathers open, chest all to see (as he often is when off the Yamaha).

Losing a position to Johann Zarco, an off moment at Turn 1 then earned him a penalty that dropped him to fourth at the flag, in turn seeing his title lead reduced to 17 points.

Though there was some speculation over whether his airbag had deployed accidentally, Quartararo explains the suit had come loose from the start, which was causing the protector to rise up against his neck.

“At the first corner my suit opened. I tried to close it but I couldn’t. So, it became very difficult top drive like that, the body was pushed backwards by the wind, I lost a lot. At that speed the rib protector moves and ended up under my neck, it bothered me so I took it off.”

Teams want answers, Casey Stoner demands black flag

The incident has certainly drawn attention towards Alpinestars - who are investigating - and what exactly the rules are around such an issue. For now Quartararo is keeping his result, but Ducati and Suzuki have asked for a clarification of the rules.

Two-time MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner, however, wasn’t shy in expressing his opinion, saying he should have been black flagged for riding at 350km/h with his chest open to the elements, including debris.

“Whether it was @ FabioQ20 who dropped the zipper on purpose or not, it had to be stopped with the black flag,” he wrote on Twitter. “At this level, you cannot be allowed to run at more than 350 km/ h with an open suit.”

Quartararo, naturally, doesn’t agree with the Australian, saying it is enough his minor track limits infraction cost him a podium and precious points.