Zarco handed pitlane start penalty for Morbidelli crash at Austrian MotoGP

Johann Zarco has been penalised with a pitlane start for the MotoGP Styrian Grand Prix for the horrific crash with Franco Morbidelli a week ago at the Red Bull Ring.

Zarco and Morbidelli suffered a 200mph collision after the Turn 2 kink during lap 10 of the Austrian GP last weekend, with Zarco’s bike hitting the airfence at Turn 3 and vaulting over the barrier and narrowly missing Maverick Vinales, while Morbidelli’s errant Petronas SRT Yamaha slid straight up the track and only just missed hitting both Valentino Rossi and Vinales.

The French rider was criticised by several riders for changing his line under braking, with Morbidelli calling him a “half-killer” and saying that he showed “little love” during the incident.

The MotoGP stewards summoned Zarco to explain his side of the incident and concluded that his actions were “irresponsible”, handing him a pitlane start penalty for Sunday’s second race at the Austrian venue.

“After the incident during the Austrian GP MotoGP race involving Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) that brought out the Red Flag, the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel held hearings on Thursday with both riders involved,” a statement by the stewards read.

“After evaluation it was determined that there was evidence of irresponsible riding from Johann Zarco, which has resulted in a penalty. The Frenchman will start his next MotoGP race from pitlane.”

It initially appeared that both riders escaped injury in the crash, but it later emerged that Zarco fractured the scaphoid in his right wrist and subsequently underwent surgery on his wrist on Wednesday.

The French rider was originally due to attend a medical test on Thursday, but was denied the opportunity to do for failing to meet the 48-hour minimum time requirement after a surgery.

As such, he is yet to be declared fit for the event and will miss both practice sessions on Friday.

Zarco will aim to pass in the medical test on Friday and would be allowed to take part in the weekend from FP3 on Saturday if he is declared fit.

If Zarco is unable to take part in this weekend’s Styrian GP, his pitlane start penalty would be applied to his next MotoGP race, meaning he would have to serve the penalty at the San Marino GP if declared unfit for this weekend.

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