Jul 5, 2012
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Motorland Aragon Supersport World Championship race winner Sam Lowes (left) and PTR Honda boss Simon Buckmaster (right).
Sofuoglu penalty not enough
WE all saw the Kenan Sofuoglu incident last weekend at Aragon that was clearly no accident as he simply looked across and rode into Fabien Foret.
The race direction then put the incident under investigation and imposed a drop three places penalty. Now the rules say a rider has five-laps to take a penalty and with only four-laps left by the time the penalty was imposed Kenan simply did not have to take it. Strictly speaking under the rules he completed the race before his last opportunity to drop back. He was lucky here as he clearly had no intention of doing so, a point shown by him trying to go into the winner enclosure at the end of the race.
He even had the cheek to say he thought he was the fair winner of the race!!! Remember, he ignored a penalty for jumping the chicanes at Imola and got black-flagged. The punishment does not fit the crime.
In my opinion the penalty was simply nowhere near harsh enough for such an outright dangerous move. It is not the first time with Kenan either. Off the top of my head when he came back to Supersport the first time he kicked out at Josh Hayes at Portimao (Josh was then riding for us) for having the cheek to overtake him.
He also rode into Eugene Laverty at Salt Lake City on the final lap to get the win. Both these incidents went without penalty. He continued in his ways in Moto 2 at Barcelona when he clashed with Julian Simon causing injury to him.
Now I know some Kenan fans may say Eugene crashed and took him out at Imola at the end of 2012 on the last lap, this is true but Eugene was going for a fair overtake not just riding into competitors with no regard for their safety.
At Aragon Kenan should have been instantly black-flagged or received a race ban for his actions. I know he was demoted to 5th anyway after being allowed to take the flag but is this really enough of a deterrent for a rider who for some reason just loses his head and takes it out on his competitors. It's not a one-off incident by Kenan regardless of who the rider is, that move was dangerous and deserved a much harder penalty.
This by the way is not just a rant at Kenan who I will say is a great rider who's riding skills In the Supersport class I respect; or a cheap shot to try and get our biggest competitor banned. I love racing and want to see it as safe as possible and I feel this penalty just did not send out the right signals for Kenan and indeed all the other riders.
He was not the only rider who got off lightly at the weekend either. Look at what Bautista did at Assen Moto GP. Rushes down the inside of turn one with no chance to stop and crashes into a totally unaware Jorge Lorenzo.
His penalty to start from the back of the grid at the next race is a joke. In reality he is starting from 12th as he will very quickly move past the CRT bikes. The innocent Lorenzo on the other hand has lost his 25-point lead in the championship and an engine that could affect the rest of his season. Marquez got away with an outrageous clash at Philip Island last year with in effect the same penalty after crashing into another rider on the slowing down lap. Ok I know it was a minute penalty on his qualifying time but let's face it that was just starting from the back of the grid.
I understand it is difficult for race direction and someone will have a problem with whatever they decide but I believe the penalties have to be enough to make the riders think very hard before getting involved in things like this again. In all cases of the riders above they have done it more than once.
We see it in other sports as well. I am a big football fan and if a player diving seeking a penalty was a red card offence they would not do it. As it is a yellow card it is well worth the risk. I understand Kenan has been told any more behaviour like this will not be tolerated. Let's hope he listens this time and we only have his riding skill to comment on in the future.
Also I would hate to see another rider commit a lesser offence, which lets face, it would almost have to be punished to make an example for Kenan's unsporting and dangerous behaviour.
Come on Kenan at least have the courage and come out and say sorry for what you did, you are a great rider who can challenge for the title fairly and do not need to do things like this.
Can I finish by congratulating Sam on another great victory and having the maturity to not get involved with Kenan knowing he was the true winner of the race. Well done Ronan as well probably his best ride of the year for 6th. Jules slid off but he will be in contention at Brno as he always is. Mathew has no luck at all and after his bike did not get off the line was hit by another rider; and Martin was unable to start after a practice crash.
Here's to great results for all out riders at Brno and we will continue to take the fight to Kenan in a fair and sporting manor.