Suzuki rider Joan Mir criticised MotoGP race direction for giving him a penalty after his clash with Johann Zarco during the Malaysian GP, even though the Frenchman later went to apologise to him.
Zarco and Mir were running right behind Jack Miller in ninth and 10th when they collided at Turn 13.
The move occurred when Zarco moved to the inside line of the right-hander in an attempt to pass Miller while Mir was already trying to make a move on his own in that place.
Zarco consequently crashed out of the race as Mir carried on, but was given a long-lap penalty and had to settle for 10th.
Mir claimed that the penalty was “unfair” as the crash was not his fault, and recalled past incidents such as Valentino Rossi hitting him from behind at Mugello or Zarco causing him to crash at Brno when they both escaped penalties.
“I was coming from behind with better pace than the others and I was recovering distance,” explained Mir.
“I was trying to overtake as many riders as I could because I was not able to push so hard on the brakes because I was breathing so heavily and was difficult to finish the race.
“I was taking the inside in T13 to overtake Zarco and Miller because I was quite fast in the moment.
“I was on the inside, then Zarco, he tries to overtake Miller when he didn’t see me that I was coming from the inside. It is normal, not his fault obviously.
“We both touch, he crashed unfortunately, sorry for him, but was not my fault, was something that can happen in the race.
“If we look at the back, the problems that I had in Mugello with Valentino, in Brno with Zarco that he hit me on the first corner and my race was over, all these type of things, they didn’t give nothing to them.
“To me, a long lap. Unfair, but what can I say, I am rookie, this was the most easy thing to do, ‘ah Zarco crashed, we will give him a long lap’.”
He added that Zarco came to him to apologise after the race and while he didn’t blame the Frenchman for the crash, the Suzuki man said that it is further proof that he was not at fault either.
“What shows that was not my fault, Zarco came to my garage and he said sorry for this.
“I say also sorry for my part because I couldn’t avoid hitting him, and the same from him. We both understand the situation but the race direction not.”
Zarco himself said that the crash “was no big drama”, saying: “I tried to overtake Jack [Miller] to go away, because if I can go away I can save this eighth position, but Joan came even more inside [at Turn 13], a bit too fast.
“Mir tried to overtake, he was a little bit limit, I think he didn’t expect that I will go in.
“Totally came in front of the handlebar, he touched me quite strong and I could not do anything. Not a big drama, I am not playing anything in the championship.”
Additional reporting by Andrew van Leeuwen