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'Anyway, I don't like you' - The unseen Jerez MotoGP outburst

by Valentin Khorounzhiy, Simon Patterson
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Johann Zarco has revealed he let loose on chief MotoGP steward Freddie Spencer in the aftermath of the Spanish Grand Prix, after being summoned to discuss his crash with Aleix Espargaro.

Espargaro crashed his Aprilia coming through Turn 5 while racing Zarco for 16th and took the LCR Honda out as well, both exiting the race on the spot.

Yet any annoyance Zarco had regarding the accident absolutely paled in comparison with him feeling affronted by the stewards' panel after being summoned to discuss the accident - with Zarco indicating he felt chief steward Spencer was trying to coax out a complaint from Zarco instead of just taking a decision.

He told French broadcaster Canal+ of the meeting: "I said to Freddie: 'Anyway, I don't like you. The job you do, you do it badly.'"

He elaborated to the English-language media later: "Freddie Spencer was watching the action with us - and it seems he was looking at me, that he wanted to know what I want! He wanted me to complain about Aleix. And I said 'I will not complain' but I told him he is not good for this job.

"Because he doesn't take the right decision in the right moment. So... 'don't ask me what you have to do!'

"He's looking at us - because I was with Aleix - like we are two children and they [the panel] want to do a moral lesson. No, Freddie [pictured below]. You have maybe a lot of passion but you don't take the right decision, you are not in the right place."

"Johann was very, very angry with race direction," corroborated Espargaro, who was also present. "Not for our actions, but for many other things.

"I was on Johann's side. I am not happy with the situation. I don't like the situation. I think the situation can be handled much, much better.

“But you cannot lose the… I lost the emotions, I was not professional, in Qatar with the incident with [Franco] Morbidelli, I tried to learn from this.

"And when I saw Johann doing that, I took him and I went with him outside, to try to help him [keep out of trouble]. But I can understand him perfectly, Johann."

No penalties have been announced in relation to the incident so far.

The crash

Espargaro and Zarco were largely aligned about the crash itself, although there was clearly a disagreement about what preceded it.

As far as the accident went, Espargaro said he tried to hold his bike back - just because he didn't want to push out Zarco - and ended up losing it and collecting the Frenchman's Honda as a result, and Zarco accepted this.

"He tried to control [it], and not push me [out], but he lost the front. And hit my bike.

"I don't want to complain. It can happen. [But then] he cannot complain against me for these things. And if he has the penalty or not, it doesn't change my life."

But Espargaro, for his part, admitted he had been "very unhappy" about how he was being raced prior to that - by Zarco and also by Franco Morbidelli.

"I said to Johann 'we are in P15, you hit me three or four times, you need to have more respect'," Espargaro recalled.

"He said 'it's my way of riding, overtaking like this'. I said 'OK, it's not my way of riding - this is why, to avoid the contact with you, I locked the front and I crashed'."

Zarco said "it was a good fight" and sent a small jibe Espargaro's way.

"Aleix doesn't agree with me, but it's normal that we can't agree on all these topics. And that's the way of Aleix sometimes, to complain about riders.

"I said 'I tried to fight, I didn't touch you, I tried to control. And I don't have any anger against you about this crash'."

The other crash

Instead, what seemed to set Zarco off in addition to Spencer's general approach was how other incidents were being adjudged - in particular, the three-into-one clash between Brad Binder, Pecco Bagnaia and Marco Bezzecchi on Saturday that ended Bagnaia's race.

Zarco heavily implied that he did not agree with that being ruled a racing incident primarily because Binder had lunged down the inside when there were already two bikes in the corner, rather than just Bagnaia by himself.

Binder, Zarco said, "could've taken that into consideration".

He then went on to suggest that the informal talks over a riders' association that would be potentially chaired by sometime MotoGP rider Sylvain Guintoli could - and should - lead to a change of the stewarding regime.

"Anyway, we are working all the riders, to have this group together, to have the right to speak and then maybe get the right people to take decisions.

"Aleix today, it's just a pity that we crashed and it was a bad place to crash. We are OK, but just then all the things after that are wrong - and I repeat, Freddie Spencer is not the right guy in this place."

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