Successful protest sees JD Racing rider tied for series lead.
The Caterpillar-backed JD Racing Yamaha team of Daniel Falzon has successfully protested his exclusion from race one of the 2017 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) presented by Motul Pirelli at Hidden Valley.
Falzon initially crashed out of the lead and then went down again while clawing his way back through the pack, in a two-rider clash at turn five involving Kawasaki BCperformance rookie Kyle Buckley that saw the latter sustain a broken ankle.
Following a red flag stoppage, pole-setter Falzon was able to restart from the rear of the grid and surged to sixth position by race’s end, however was later excluded from the results by race officials due to his alleged involvement in the incident with Buckley that saw the race stopped.
Motorcycling Australia (MA) has now confirmed that Falzon has been reinstated in the results (as per statement below in italics):
Superbike competitor Daniel Falzon (#25) was excluded from the results of race one by the clerk of course, after an alleged breach of regulations relating to contributing or causing an incident resulting in a race stoppage. The incident occurred on lap seven of race one at turn five, when Daniel Falzon (#25) and Kyle Buckley (#83) contacted.
Competitor Daniel Falzon (#25), submitted a protest in relation to the allegation and the matter was heard before a jury. The members of the protest hearing (jury) subsequently agreed with the clerk of course, that Daniel Falzon (#25) was involved in the crash with Kyle Buckley (#83) that ultimately stopped the race, requiring a restart. From review of the evidence submitted at the protest hearing, the jury could not agree that Daniel Falzon (#25) was the sole contributor nor cause of the race being stopped.
Based on the lack of irrefutable evidence in the first instance, the jury supports the clerk of course’s decision to include Daniel Falzon (#25) in the restart of the race. In the second instance, with regard to the determination, the Jury does not support the clerk of course’s decision to exclude Daniel Falzon (#25) from the race results.
After review of all the evidence provided, including on-board camera footage, data analysis, still photography and based on Daniel Falzon (#25) being permitted to participate in the restart of the race and the inability of the jury to conclusively prove that Daniel Falzon (#25) was the sole cause of the race stoppage (being the only rider penalised), the Jury accept Daniel Falzon’s (#25) protest, and have overturned the results exclusion determination made by the clerk of course in favour of the protestor Daniel Falzon (#25).
By order of the steward, the results for Superbike race one of round four at Hidden Valley Raceway have been amended to reinstate competitor #25 (Daniel Falzon) into sixth position of that race.
The amendment to results now sees Phillip Island round winner Falzon tied with defending champion Troy Herfoss (Crankt Protein Honda Racing) for the championship lead with three rounds remaining, salvaging sixth overall for the round. He said it was the correct decision of MA to amend the results from Sunday.
“Honestly, I think that the incident was an unfortunate event for both of us,” Falzon told CycleOnline.com.au. “I never want to see a friend or a fellow rider injured, however in regards to the version of events leading to the incident, Kyle and I seem to have a differing opinion. I never believed I was the sole cause of the red flag and was shocked and upset to hear that I was protested after the race restart, of which I was permitted to participate in.
“I believe that I had passed Kyle in to turn five successfully and was trail-braking to ensure I had slowed sufficiently for the turn. However, I was then hit from the side – the front of Kyle’s bike made contact with my left boot – causing me to lose the front-end and low-side, consequently taking Kyle with me. Had there not been any contact, I would have successfully passed him – it doesn’t take much of a bump to lose front grip when trail-braking into a corner.
“I truly believe this is an unfortunate racing incident. If you race motorbikes at any level and expect incidents to not happen, then this is not the sport for you. I have been racing nationally for 10 years now and have never taken another rider out of a race, nor have we ever lodged an official protest against someone else, so this protest did come as a surprise to me, yet I can understand the ulterior motifs behind teams’ decisions to want to have the championship leader stripped of points.
“I have a target on my back and me losing points benefits every one of my competitors. People will side with who they like, yet the decision was given to the racing steward and associated decision makers, so it was out of my hands. I am sorry for Kyle being injured in the incident, I wish him a speedy recovery as he’s the last person I would want this to happen to, but I won’t take the penalty unjustified.”
JD Racing submitted varying evidence to MA in relation to the incident when protesting his exclusion, adamant that Falzon had made the pass on Buckley and was clipped from behind, which caused him to crash as both went down collectively.
“I was initially told by the officials that the protest made by a team stated that I had simply low-sided on corner entry, prior to making contact with Kyle, which resulted in me taking him out of the race,” he stated. “I knew this wasn’t the case though, I was completely in control of my motorbike until I was hit in the side. I think that the photo of the incident, which I assume everyone has seen, was rather damning and it’s easy to assume that I was in the wrong.
“However, it doesn’t paint a clear picture as to what happened to cause the crash, only the aftermath. It was this image which initially caused me to be disqualified, yet all the contributing factors had not been considered. The footage on the rear of my bike confirmed my claim that I had not fallen prior to making contact with Kyle, it was a result of the hit and I was in fact half a bike length ahead before contact was initially made.”
With the 15 points boosting back into a tie for the lead with Herfoss after he initially left the Top End in third, Falzon has turned his attention to August’s Morgan Park round, focused on closing out the season in the strongest possible fashion. Regaining those points is massive for his title hopes.
“This disqualification had the ability to entirely change the championship for me,” he added. “As I previously stated, I can now understand why I was protested when you consider the vested interests of teams and their other riders’ benefits from my loss of points. The ASBK championship this year has been very exciting, with close and unpredictable racing.
“We have had four different winners in four rounds and the title fight is very close, in fact we are equal on points with Troy for the lead. We have had a few rough rounds recently, I don’t feel we have been able to put enough points on the board for what we’re capable of, so these 15 points are vital to ensure we can maintain our battle for the title this season.
“I’d also like to state that regardless of the outcome from this protest, I’m very impressed with the professionalism that MA showed. They were very thorough in their investigation and considered all evidence prior to making an informed decision.”