Massa calls for perspective on Alonso crash


Williams driver Felipe Massa has called for some perspective as the Formula 1 community continues to speculate about the cause of Fernando Alonso’s testing crash.

Last Sunday in Barcelona, Alonso crashed heavily into the wall on the inside of turn three at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

McLaren CEO Ron Dennis confirmed on Thursday that the Spaniard had been briefly knocked unconscious but was not concussed by the crash.

However, McLaren racing director Eric Boullier had offered a different view on the day of the crash, saying Alonso was “concussed during the accident, which therefore required an overnight stay in hospital as a precaution.”

The Spaniard was eventually discharged after three days in hospital and has been forced to miss this week’s test in Barcelona.

In the paddock, speculation about the cause behind the crash has been rife. McLaren claimed that it was due to the high winds, but many theories emerged in the aftermath of the accident, prompting Dennis to meet with the press on Thursday to set the record straight.

Although Massa believed that it was a strange accident, he called for some perspective and for people to focus on the fact that Alonso was unharmed and back at home instead of accusing McLaren of not telling the truth.

“It was very strange, definitely,” Massa said. “Why should the team lie? I don’t think they are. Maybe he had a problem with the wind? For sure it was strange. I don’t see the point to lie.

“The only important thing is that he is fine. He is out of hospital and I think that is the most important thing. I understand that you guys are journalists and you want to understand if he’ll do the race or not, but for me the most important thing is that he’s good. Whether he’s doing the first race is less important than how he is. If he’s okay, that’s the most important thing.”

Massa said that instead of inventing theories regarding the crash, the F1 community should instead leave the investigation to its governing body, the FIA, and stop jumping to conclusions.

“Strange is one thing; inventing something is another thing,” Massa said. “I don’t think we need to invent anything. We just need to believe what’s happened.

“If something happened that nobody knows, the FIA is there to check and control and to see. If you see Fernando in the car, it means everything is fine. But I’m happy that he’s okay.”

Miguel Oliveira wins MotoGP Thai Grand Prix, Bagnaia closes to two points in championship

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
Mirco Lazzari / Getty Images

Miguel Oliveira mastered mixed conditions on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to win the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix. Oliveira showed the adaptability as he navigated a race that began in wet conditions and turned dry over the course of the race. Oliveira won the Indonesian GP in similar conditions.

“It was a long race, but I can’t complain,” Oliveira said on CNBC. “Every time we get to ride in the wet, I’m always super-fast. When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia. I tried to keep my feet on the ground, make a good start and not make mistakes and carry the bike to the end.”

All eyes were on the championship, however. Francesco Bagnaia got a great start to slot into second in Turn 1.

Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous first lap. He lost five positions in the first couple of turns and then rode over the rumble strips and fell back to 17th. At the end of the first lap, Bagnaia had the points’ lead by two. A win would have added to the gain and for a moment, it appeared Bagnaia might assume the lead.

Early leader Marco Bezzecchi was penalized for exceeding track limits, but before that happened, Jack Miller got around Bagnaia and pushed him back to third. Oliveira was not far behind.

After throwing away ninth-place and seven points on the last lap of the Japanese GP last week, Bagnaia did not allow the competition to press him into a mistake. He fell back as far as fourth before retaking the final position on the podium.

“It’s like a win for me, this podium,” Bagnaia. “My first podium in the wet and then there was a mix of conditions, so I’m very happy. I want to thank Jack Miller. Before the race, he gave me a motivational chat.”

Miller led the first half of the Thai Grand Prix before giving up the top spot to Oliveira and then held on to finish second. Coupled with his Japanese GP win, Miller is now fully in the MotoGP championship battle with a 40-point deficit, but he will need a string of results like Bagnaia has put together in recent weeks – and he needs Bagnaia to lose momentum.

Miller’s home Grand Prix in Australia is next up on the calendar in two weeks.

Bagnaia entered the race 18 points behind Quartararo after he failed to score any in Japan. The balance of power has rapidly shifted, however, with Quartararo now failing to earn points in two of the last three rounds. Bagnaia won four consecutive races and finished second in the five races leading up to Japan. His third-place finish in Thailand is now his sixth MotoGP podium in the last seven rounds.

Aleix Espargaro entered the race third in the standings with a 25-point deficit to Quartararo, but was able to close the gap by only five after getting hit with a long-lap penalty for aggressive riding when he pushed Darryn Binder off course during a pass for position. Espargaro finished 11th.

Rain mixed up the Moto2 running order in the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix as well. Starting on a wet track, Somkiat Chantra led the opening lap in his home Grand Prix. He could not hold onto it and crashed one circuit later, but still gave his countrymen a moment of pride by winning the pole.

Half points were awarded as the race went only eight laps before Tony Arbolino crossed under the checkers first with Filip Salac and Aron Canet rounding out the podium.

American Joe Roberts earned another top-10 in eighth with Sean Dylan Kelly finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.