The Italian entered 2022 as the title favourite, having won four times in the last six rounds of last year, but like all GP22 riders he had to catch up after winter testing with the latest Desmosedici.
A crash in the season opener in Qatar, which also brought down Pramac’s Jorge Martin, then marked the start of five consecutive races without a grandstand, before a decisive victory in Jerez.
It’s literally been an all-or-nothing case since Bagnaia has won (50% of the time) or failed the last six races, with mistakes at Le Mans and Sachsenring compounded by Takaaki Nakagami’s Turn 1 crash in Barcelona .
But Assen’s whirlwind win, combined with a rare mistake from defending champion and title leader Fabio Quartararo, saw Bagnaia head into the summer break on a high.
Then came the last, very unexpected, bass.
It was after celebrating Assen’s win with friends, Bagnaia said, that he left a nightclub at 3 a.m. in Ibiza on Tuesday and subsequently “ended up with the front wheels [of his car] in a ditch”.
No one else was involved in the incident, but the 25-year-old confirmed that “the blood alcohol test carried out by the police revealed that the blood alcohol level was higher than what is authorized by Spanish law”.
Local media report that Bagnaia recorded a breathalyzer result of 0.87 mg/L, more than three times the legal limit of 0.25.
“I’m sorry for what happened; I’m practically a non-drinker, and this was gross negligence that shouldn’t have happened,” Bagnaia added in his social media post.
“I apologize to everyone and I can assure you that I learned the lesson.
“Never drive after drinking alcohol. Thanks.”
A single drink-driving offense is unlikely to have a career impact in MotoGP
Bagnaia would face a possible 1 to 4 year driving ban.
The only comparable incident in recent MotoGP history involved then Pramac Ducati rider Hector Barbera, who gave a breathalyzer result of 0.32 and 0.28 after drinking “a glass of wine” in January 2012.
Like Bagnaia, Barbera issued a public apology and, sportingly, the matter was effectively closed.
Whether Ducati will take some sort of disciplinary action against Bagnaia, possibly in the form of a fine, or whether the incident will be treated as a private matter is currently unclear (Ducati said crash.net they have nothing to say at the moment).
Either way, aside from being an unwelcome distraction, it’s unlikely to impact Bagnaia’s racing season, which restarts at Silverstone next month with a 66-point deficit to Quartararo.
Unfortunately for Barbera, 2012 would not be the end of his run-in with the law, although the Spaniard’s racing career was only affected when, while racing in the Moto2 class in 2018, he failed. to another breathalyzer test (0.67 mg/L) and left the Pons team “by mutual agreement”.
MotoGP and alcohol
For obvious reasons, alcohol tests (breath and/or blood) are performed on Grand Prix drivers on the circuit, where a positive result means greater than 0.10g/L.
A modified version of the MotoGP rules regarding alcohol during race weekends are as follows:
“Applicants with an alcohol addiction will not be accepted.
“For safety reasons, runners should not participate in the competition if they are found to have a blood alcohol level above the threshold of 0.10. g/L.
“Presence of alcohol above the threshold concentration and consumption/use of alcohol (ethanol) is prohibited in motorcycling sport during the competition period and will be considered a violation of the Medical Code.”
‘..The period in competition is defined as the period beginning 12 hours before the rider uses his bicycle for the first time during the event and ending 30 minutes after the end of the last race of his class and his category.
“This is the minimum period that riders must abstain from alcohol before competition for safety reasons.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the possession, use and consumption of alcohol during the podium ceremony is not considered a violation under the FIM Medical Code provided the podium ceremony takes place at the end of the demonstration.”
Any violation of the liquor code during a MotoGP weekend will result in a rider:
‘Immediately ruled out and disqualified by the FIM MotoGP Stewards. Other sanctions may be applied in accordance with the FIM Disciplinary and Arbitration Code and/or the relevant Sporting Regulations.’