If you didn’t see what happened during last weekends Catalan MotoGP, you’ll have no doubt seen the social media backlash. Monster Energy Yamaha Rider,... My thoughts on the Quartararo striptease

If you didn’t see what happened during last weekends Catalan MotoGP, you’ll have no doubt seen the social media backlash. Monster Energy Yamaha Rider, and World Championship leader, Fabio Quartararo completed the last handful of laps with his leathers unzipped. Right down. Nobody really knows why they were unzipped, and Fabio won’t say. You could say he’s keeping his cards close to his bare chest. He also lobbed his chest protector out but he was still allowed to continue. So what went on, and why did he start getting undressed half way through a MotoGP race? And why wasn’t he black flagged? This is my highly speculative assessment of what I think went on…

First of all, let’s examine why his leathers were down in the first place. He either unzipped them himself, or the Alpinestars fairies came and did it for him. My money is on the former. I thought, at first, it was maybe a broken zip caused by the inadvertent inflation of his airbag. But the fact that he managed to zip it up after the flag would suggest there was nothing wrong with it. Why did he not just zip it straight back up…? We’ll come to that later.

So I’m saying Quartararo unzipped them himself. Why? Well perhaps the airbag went off and he needed to release the pressure in order to breathe. Maybe he had a slide and it inflated, but it could have just been a complete malfunction. I think the plan was to undo the suit, whip his chest protector out and zip them back up. Just so that he can breathe. Or was it nothing to do with the airbag? Did a wasp find it’s way into his suit? Was he performing a bit of mid-race pest control? It’s happened before.

Zip-lob

Anyway, regardless of why it was down, why didn’t he just zip it back up? Well it’s not as easy as that when they’re full of fast moving air. He’d of had to slow down to about 30mph to stop the sides billowing out enough to zip it up; and he obviously wouldn’t have wanted to do that. So he didn’t bother and just cracked on.

And what about Race Control? What planet were they on when all this was kicking off? Was the Race Director doing a coffee run? It seemed as though nobody dared make the decision that needed making. Because everybody that I’ve asked about it has said it should have been an immediate black flag. And it definitely should have been, rather than the 3 second penalty he received, post-race.

The black flag wouldn’t have been as a punishment for breaking the rules; rather solely on safety grounds. Imagine if the lad had crashed with his leathers undone with no chest protector and an airbag that’s unarmed. Forget about the rulebook (which, by the way, does say your leathers must be done up), the lad’s life is on the line. Mugello, a week previously, reminded us of how dangerous motorcycle racing can be, with the sad passing of Jason Dupasquier. After that, to see Quartararo doing 200mph half-dressed is taking the piss a little bit.

Bollock-o

And to be fair to the lad he’s not going to come in off his own back, is he? As has been suggested by others, all of the racers on that grid would ride stark bollock naked if they needed to, and there was a couple of points on the line. And if Catalunya was anything to go by, they might even get away with it. No, Race Control failed miserably on that one. They should have grown some balls and got the lad off the track straight away; regardless of who he is or where he is in the championship.

The next question is why is Quartararo not telling us what the bloody hell went on. He’s being very coy about the whole thing. Well I would imagine there was a gentleman from Alpinestars waiting for him in his pitbox directly after the race. Said gentleman probably reminded Fabio of the section in his A* contract that says he mustn’t say or do anything that brings the brand into disrepute; and that saying his airbag went off when it shouldn’t have done would be doing exactly that. He’d have also reminded Fabio that the 10,000 euro (that’s a figure plucked directly out of thin air, by the way) per round that Alpinestars pay him to wear their kit would stop. Immediately.

I might be completely wrong about the whole thing. Barking up the wrong tree in the wrong forest. But I don’t think we’ll ever find out the whole truth, so surely my conjecture is as good as anyone else’s.

What do you think happened?

UPDATE: Alpinestars have just released the following statement…
“Following Sunday’s MotoGP race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the Alpinestars’ Racing Development team commenced an investigation into the integrity of Fabio Quartararo’s racing suit located in the MotoGP paddock, the team found the suit to be in normal working order with all zippers and fasteners fully functioning. Furthermore, all the suit’s componentry, including the Tech-Air® Airbag System, was intact and fully functioning. Upon initial analysis post-race in the Alpinestars Racing Development truck. The Tech-Air® Airbag System did not deploy during the race, it functioned as expected, as there was not a crash situation. This is only a first assessment, to be further investigated once the suit is in the Alpinestars laboratory at Alpinestars headquarters, conducting all testing and analysis to understand more about the cause of what happened.”

Boothy

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Yorke
Yorke
3 months ago

As a former racer, I had the exact same thing happen to me in an endurance race. The zipper worked itself down a bit and then when leaned over the wind got into that gap and it blew open.

Alpine stars said the suit airbag never deployed. Zipper probably was just shy of being completely zipped up and worked its self down. Wind did the rest.

Mike Cummings
Mike Cummings
3 months ago
Reply to  Yorke

Absolutely right. Look at the tv vision prior to the start – everyone had zippers so high it was impossible to see the pull tag – but Fabio’s was well below the small Velcro strap at the top and it is possible to see the zipper head – the wind did the rest over a period of many laps

Rob
Rob
3 months ago

Interesting, very interesting. I personally was calling ‘black flag’ at the tv like a football loon shouts ‘off side’

Phil Thomas
Phil Thomas
3 months ago

Good point on the sponsors telling him to not say anything.

Still annoying we can’t find out though. It’s one for when he retires I suppose.

Steve Bannister the amputee biker
Steve Bannister the amputee biker
3 months ago

Looking how them suits go off I’m sure we’d have seen it. Also with how it throws their arms out etc wouldn’t he lose grip on the bars ? Very odd scenario indeed. But should definitely been black flagged. Petty on track limits but let this go 🤷🏻‍♂️ Ridiculous

Paul Emery
Paul Emery
3 months ago

A racer stops for nothing unless they’re forced to, or the perceived danger penetrates the in-the-zone focus. He might have only meant to open the zip a little but it would have tried to parachute, opened further than intended, then been impossible to pull up again. Boothy – a good analysis I reckon. Can’t see it being a bee or wasp getting inside, too tight fitting. Helmet, yes.

Steve Bannister the amputee biker
Steve Bannister the amputee biker
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul Emery

It’s happened plenty times before wasps going in suits not too tight these days to allow room for air bag expansions

Dave
Dave
3 months ago

Good for him. It takes balls to do that and it’s only himself he’s putting at risk.

Strong characters like this make Moto gp interesting.

The fact that you’ve written two articles about it already means that moto gp in general just got a load of PR (all PR is good or) bring new people to the sport where they find some characters rather than bland robots in a lot of other sport that people are bored of.

Owen Hall
Owen Hall
3 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Putting every other rider at risk. Imagine 200kmh in a corner and you lose the front because you have just put your tire on a discarded plastic chest protector that an irresponsible rider has dumped on the race line because his leathers came undone……

andy
andy
3 months ago

Paddock Pass Podcast guys think it was his chest protector was too high, and he was trying to adjust it by unzipping his leathers. He should have been black flagged no doubt. I guess the Alpinestars guys were looking at still shots and video on the grid to check to make sure it was properly zipped etc. No problems were found. Unlike a lot of guys, he tends to want to walk around bare chested, so he doesn’t put the chest protector on in the pits, he waits until he’s on the grid, and quickly stuffs it in. He also doesn’t wear an undershirt, which helps keep it in place. I suspect that will all change now.

Aaron Oldham
Aaron Oldham
3 months ago

Alpine stars tweeted just prior to your article by a few minutes, stating on first inspection they found no faults with his suit, and the airbag did not deploy during the race.

He has said about his chest protector riding up causing him discomfort, so it seems he unzipped him self did away with the chest protector and as you say couldn’t do them back up due to the speeds he was doing.

100% agree with you should have been black flagged and even Fabio has said that! No racer still capable of racing would have stopped without being forced to do so.

Graham Scrogham
Graham Scrogham
3 months ago

Didn’t he mention the chest protector had moved up making breathing difficult? That could have been why he went to unzip the leathers a bit and got a bit carried away? Whatever happened I think he should’ve been stopped. Imagine the fallout if he’d got seriously injured given last week’s tragedy!