Joe Roberts denied elusive Moto2 podium in MotoGP Italian Grand Prix by controversial penalty


Joe Roberts’ elusive first Moto2 podium of 2021 was stripped from him for exceeding track limits on the final lap of the MotoGP Italian Grand Prix at Autodromo Mugello. And some top names in the sport believe the penalty should not have happened.

“In the end I got third position, but for the rules, the way they are, it got taken away,” Roberts said after the race. “I don’t agree with this rule and I think a lot of riders could agree with me. I can see in ways when you make a clear advantage that something should happen, but this track – the way it’s designed – the curbs come back on themselves., Really I don’t think there’s any advantage that I gained.”

Roberts was correct. Several riders in the field did agree, including Maverick Vinales and Jack Miller.

“It’s true that the rules are the rules, but sometimes we need to be a little bit more flexible, because for me Joe Roberts did nothing wrong,” said Vinales at “For example, if where Roberts touched the green paint there was grass, nothing would happen, because he’s really straight by that point.”

Miller was even more adamant.

“I think the curb should’ve been painted all the way, or more of an angle, not sharp, a more natural line,” Miller said. “At the end of the day, Joe Roberts losing that position was in my opinion bullshit.

“He deserved it 100 percent. He fought for that win. He didn’t gain anything.”

Roberts’ penalty came in Turn 5 at the Mugello circuit in a corner marked by curbing that is legal to run on and a wide swatch of green paint outside of it. After the turn straightens out, the green painted area veers abruptly across what had been a legal portion of the track.

His penalty equated to the loss of one position, dropping Roberts from third to fourth.

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Robert had another podium taken from him at the Portuguese Grand Prix in Round 3 after contact from another rider on the final lap.

“I think that should be the determining rule on this,” Roberts said. “If you make an advantage, then you should get something. Anyways, it is what it is and there’s not much I can do about it, but tell you I don’t agree with it.”

There were track limit penalties handed out in all three classes at Mugello, including two that canceled one another out in MotoGP.

In Moto2 Remy Gardner scored the victory by +.014 seconds over Raul Fernandez. Italian rider Marco Bezzecchi was awarded the final podium position.

This was the first victory of the season for Gardner, who led the race from flag to flag.

In the MotoGP class, Fabio Quartararo claimed a 2.5-second win over Miguel Oliveira. Joan Mir was third.

The event was marred by an accident in qualification that claimed the life of Moto3 rider Jason Dupasquier.

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night / DB3 Inc.

On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.

Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)