The tenor of temper tantrums and drama in the MotoGP paddock seemingly escalates with each passing day, as the Warm-Up session at Le Mans saw further scuffles from MotoGP riders. Punching Randy de Puniet in the arm, Casey Stoner has been levied a €5,000 fine by Race Direction for the contact with the French rider. With such a physical act is clearly out of order and unsportsmanlike in any sort of motorcycle race, but the issue about slower riders on the racing line has also surfaced, with many in the MotoGP paddock looking for some intervention from Race Direction on that issue as well.

The incident came about as Randy de Puniet and Álvaro Bautista had slowed on the racing line (seemingly having their own moment with each other), with Stoner rapidly approaching on his Repsol Honda. With de Puniet looking back over his shoulder, the French rider seemingly moved to get out of the way of Stoner, who was on the inside of the two riders. However moving to the outside, Randy blocked Casey’s line, as the Australian went to the outside as well to make his pass over the slower duo.

Visibly upset about having not only slower riders on the racing line, but also getting blocked on his faster lap, Stoner punched de Puniet on the upper-arm/shoulder as he rode by, with the two riders exchanging other gestures that we haven’t been able to identify in the ASL dictionary. For this act, Race Direction has fined Stoner €5,000, though no penalty has been assessed to Randy de Puniet for his part in the incident, with the Frenchman simply getting a warning for his part. Slow-lappers on the racing line has been an increasingly problematic issue in MotoGP, and is a personal pet-peev for Casey Stoner, who doesn’t like riders latching onto his Honda and getting a tow around the circuit.

So far Race Direction has not handed-out fines or penalties for the plethora of riders sitting on the racing line and waiting for a tow, and many in the MotoGP paddock are waiting for the officials to step-in on the issue. There’s no doubt that lately there’s been a laissez-faire approach to the melodrama that has become MotoGP racing in 2011, with riders publicly scuffling with each other essentially from the Spanish GP onward.

After the qualifying session yesterday, riders lined up in the Safety Commission meeting to complain about Marco Simoncelli’s riding this weekend, as the Italian has also been under scrutiny for his aggressive riding at Le Mans. With racing at the French GP about to get started in several hours, we’ll see who has the largest handbag in the Le Mans paddock.

Photo: MotoGP

  • Casey shouldn’t have punched him. Bad Sportsmanship.

    A bitchslap to the back of Rany’s helmet would have been more appropriate and cheaper.

  • Stoner is obviously an egomaniacal little s@#t.

  • Jeram

    big bunch of sooks those riders are

    back in the age of real riding heros there would have had a punch on in the pit garage

  • stooonerpid


  • ML

    Stoner and Jorge seem to think they own the track. Anyone who gets in their way or gets physical draws their criticism. And are they talking about making rules to determine how and where on a track people are allowed to pass each other? This sport is getting ridiculous…

  • Minibull

    No, they both cocked up, but I’m with Stoner on this one. He was going far quicker than de Puniet and then had him swerve in front. As Stoner said on the grid, he really thought he was going to smash into the back of him. Obviously he shouldnt have hit him, but when something like this happens at 300 odd kph, the adrenaline is going to be flowing and spur of the moment decisions are going to be made. Its not as though damage was done by the punch either. They both realised their mistakes and apologised to each other. Just a big mix-up.

    What happened in the race though….ooooooo, i wont spoil it ;)

  • RacerX

    Who cares. All you you panzies leave wimp comments. He should’ve punched Rossi instead!!!

  • RacerX

    LOts of liberal panzies leave comments on this website!

  • Keith

    heh, punch no. Dope slap to the back of the lid? heck yeah! Randy has been around the block enough times and knows better than to be a line blocker if he’s not at pace. Have to agree with Doc tho’ a lot of these guys act like wimps.

  • In my day, this would have been settled by Stoner hitting Randy’s kill switch as he went past. But I suppose in the spirit of the times (and boy, would it up ratings) they should install a UFC-style chain-link octagon in the paddock and just let riders call each other out. In this particular matchup, I”d put De Puniet 8 to 5 favorite.

  • Yeah, he should’ve hit all Randy’s TC controls, or waited to get on the other side and grabbed a handful of his front brake like in the old days of GP riding!

    Poor riding by De Puniet and a pointless fine.

  • Dutch
  • Patrick/ML: U guys are kidding yeah??

    If I was doing the better part of 250 kph down the back straight (of an international circuit with the ‘best’ riders in the world racing) and another rider came out on to the racing line; checking his brakes and doing a 150kph less, i think anyone would have reacted in the same fashion.

    Any how, Randy proved the calibre of rider he is in his finishing position…

  • Billy B.Tso

    “we’ll see who has the largest handbag in the Le Mans paddock.” hahahaha!! well said Jensen Beeler!!

  • MikeD

    I say:

    Let them at each other after the race is done. Nothing like blowing steam the old fashion way. I bet Randy would think twice before doing it again.


  • MikeD

    aND yES…A Bitch Slap on the back of the “brain bucket” would’ve done it nicely.

  • a bitch move by Ms. Stoner. The guy can ride, but has no class.

  • Oldrider

    Agree Stoner’s a whinger and I’m an Aussie. Grow up Casey.

    You will never be Rossi even if you make stupid half -assed comments.Tho I must admit it was funny. It clearly showed how clueless you were about your own ambitions. It is your ambition that overides your skills. Rossi has 10 in the bag. You mate, have more falls during the races than Rossi has during practice sessions.

    Admittedly, Stoner is better than the preening pompous idiot Lorenzo. It’ll be interesting to see how he does next year without help from Rossi in setting up the new Yamaha. Maybe he’ll steal Ben Spies’s settings by pulling rank as #1 rider.

    @Mark Gardiner – Caey would have fallen off if he tried to hit Randy’s kill switch

  • BikePilot

    Back at my high school we used to run over obnoxious lappers. It was no big deal. A punch? That’s all he could come up with? There’s always the classic front brake squeeze or kill switch flip as well, but nothing’s quite as sweet as drifting a rear wheel into a punk’s front end coming out of a corner…

  • TES

    Stoner & Lorenzo are two of the biggest tools in all of racing… they are so egotistical it makes me sick (they act like two female supermodels on fast bikes). If they can’t accept an occasional bit of aggressive riding by other riders, then they should have pursued a different sport to make a living at. To drive by and punch another rider is pure pussy-antics (especially during a warm-up session for christ’s sake!!!)… settle it in the pit instead of doing it for “exposure” (by the way, wasn’t Stoner the one criticizing Rossi for doing things “for the cameras” at Estoril a few weeks back (ie his apology)??? Talk about a double standard! Moto GP really needs to harvest a better fleet of riders, or they are going to lose a lot of fans. Between the small roster & half of them being so damn unlikable, the outlook seems bleak, which is a shame… Piss off Stoner, and go give Jorge a neck rub.

  • Ades

    It amazes me the people that complain about not having any “action” in Moto GP or things not being “like the old days”, then when these very things are happening, complain ABOUT them happening!

    The hard men myth……..Less media coverage, less professionalism, less sponsorship pressure etc etc in the “good old days” (the seemingly refers to the Rainey/Schwantz, Lawson/Spencer, KR/SHeene days only)….. they were doing the same things, complaining just as much, and the only thing “hard” was their sleeping arrangements.

    The present day rider has more pressure, rides faster and harder (Rossi “You have to ride the Desmocedici like the 500’s”), has to understand far more complex motorcycles, and every single word or action is captured, printed, analyzed and dissected and then have their talent disregarded in favour of a simplistic popularity contest supported mainly by armchair commentators who haven’t a clue. The internet is both a curse and a blessing really…..

    Remember, without these riders and their passion, most would complain Moto GP is boring again…..

    I love the antics of Rossi, Simoncelli, Lorenzo, Stoner & De Puniet….. and I say more please.

  • cristi-x

    c’mon, people, it wasn’t a punch, it actually was a kind of “hey, man, what are you doing with your head in the clouds? we’re on a motogp track here”