Sunday’s Moto3 race at Sepang descended into something of a shambles after race control failed to respond to an oil spill on the opening lap which led to over half the field, including three of the lead group, crashing out of the race.
The race got off to a poor start, with a number of opening-lap collisions bringing down seven of the 31-rider field, including a crash at turn seven that left four riders on the deck and a contaminated surface.
That surface then caught out the leading pack a lap later, with newly crowned world champion Brad Binder, Joan Mir, Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Fabio Di Giannantonio all crashing out of contention.
That left Italian rider Francesco Bagnaia to take a clear win, his second victory of the season, ahead of Jakub Kornfeil and Bo Bendsneyder.
However, speaking after the race, Bagnaia said the track contamination was clear to see.
“I saw on the big screens that a lot of riders had crashed in the first laps, then I saw Binder and Mir crash in front of me. I saw from my pit board that I had two seconds to second, and knew that something had happened behind me.
“I guessed that other riders were crashing at turn seven, because I could see the oil on the track, and it would’ve been really easy to make a mistake.”
His comments were backed up by runner-up Kornfeil, who was amazed not to see the red flags come out during the race.
“I could see very easily on the lap after everyone crashed that there was a long line, maybe 50 metres long, of oil around the corner. It took a lot of time for the oil contamination to clear up, and I was expecting race control to stop the race, because it was very dangerous.”