until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Quartararo penalty hands Jerez sprint podium to Pedrosa

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Yamaha has lost its first podium of the 2024 MotoGP season as Fabio Quartararo was penalised for a tyre pressure breach in the aftermath of the Portimao sprint.

Quartararo finished third on the road - from 23rd on the grid - in a delirious 12-lap race in which 15 riders crashed, the 2021 champion fending off KTM tester Dani Pedrosa by 0.050s at the line.

Pedrosa, however, now returns to a MotoGP podium for the first time since his 2017 season-finale win at Valencia as Quartararo's breach comes with an eight-second time penalty.

This would normally be completely ruinous to his race, but because of the very particular nature of this sprint, it only costs him positions to Pedrosa and Pramac Ducati rider (and former Yamaha team-mate) Franco Morbidelli.

The tyre pressure limit on the front had been lowered this season after infringements became very frequent towards the end of the 2023 campaign, following the rule's mid-season introduction.

However, the penalties were also increased considerably compared to 2023 - although MotoGP did at least steer clear of the original plan to make the infringement equate to a disqualification.

Pedrosa revealed before the penalty announcement that he hadn't actually been aware what position he was fighting for with Quartararo - so took fewer risks than he would have otherwise.

"I stayed behind Fabio for all the race - but... every two or three laps, two guys off. Three guys off. Another guy off after," he explained.

"I didn't know my position anymore - because when I was passing in the [main] straight, I was trying to overtake Fabio, and I always pass on the side and I don't see very well my board. I couldn't read the position.

"So in the last lap I didn't know we were P3-P4. I thought actually we were P6-P7. So I said 'OK, it's last lap, don't try too much, just finish the race'.“It's a shame, because we missed the podium by 0.050s - but I take this great result, because we started 16th."

Sprint podiums do not count towards the overall tally in MotoGP, so Pedrosa now has a single sprint podium finish to go along with his 112 grand prix podiums in the premier class.

Four others penalised

Raul Fernandez, Trackhouse Aprilia, MotoGP

Quartararo was not alone in falling foul of the tyre pressure regulations in the Jerez sprint - as four other riders didn't hit the required 30% race distance threshold of keeping the pressure above the limit.

Those riders were Raul Fernandez (Trackhouse Aprilia), Fabio Di Giannantonio (VR46 Ducati), Jack Miller (KTM) and Alex Rins (Yamaha).

In the case of the latter trio, the resulting eight-second penalties had no impact and didn't change their positions - as they had been riding around well down the order after crashing earlier in the race.

However, Fernandez's penalty has dropped him out of the points from sixth - giving a point extra to each of Marc Marquez (Gresini Ducati), Augusto Fernandez (Tech3 Gas Gas), Miguel Oliveira (RNF Aprilia) and Joan Mir (Honda).

The breaches are presumably a consequence of teams getting no slick-tyre running on Saturday morning, combined with cool temperatures on a damp-ish track surface during the race.

However, five riders falling foul will be a concerning number for MotoGP, given riders will all have to hit the minimum mark for 60% of the distance tomorrow instead of 30.

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