Dominique Aegerter resorts to all means at the Supersport World Championship in Most and earns criticism: Has the Swiss rider ruined his promotion to the Superbike World Championship?
At the sixth weekend of the current season, the World Superbike Championship continued to thrill with exciting racing, tough duels and great scenes. The fans at the Autodrom Most were well entertained. The weather was better than the rather gloomy forecast for Saturday suggested.
In contrast to last year’s premiere, the fans were allowed into the paddock this time and used this opportunity intensively to get very close to their starts. There was a lot going on!
Fall victim Dominique Aegerter in the dock
But the weekend in Most, Czech Republic, did not only create positive stories. With his “swallow” after the starting accident in the first Supersport race, Dominique Aegerter gambled away some sympathies. That’s why the Swiss rider takes the lead role in our Monday column today.
A short summary of what happened: At the start of race one of the Supersport World Championship there was a mass crash in the chicane, which was caused by Can Öncü. Dominique Aegerter was one of those who suffered. When he landed in the gravel, the dream of a tenth victory in a row was in danger of being shattered.
There’s drama at the first corner as Aegerter, Verdoia, De Rosa, Caricasulo and Montella go down! CZEWorldSBK pic.twitter.com/yrpHItW3Hl
– WorldSBK (@WorldSBK) July 30, 2022
Never before has a rider been able to win ten races in a row in the Supersport World Championship. Aegerter had this milestone firmly in his sights. In a short-circuit move, he decided to provoke an abandonment of the race so that he could be back at the restart.
On Sunday morning, events came thick and fast
Aegerter dropped in the gravel and simulated an injury. It is hard to understand why the race was not interrupted even though a rider was lying in the gravel at the end of the home straight. Aegerter’s plan thus failed. The dream of a tenth victory was shattered.
After the race, the officials classified Aegerter as not fit because his behaviour pointed to a concussion. In order to be able to take part in the second race after all, Aegerter is said to have made a confession. The fact that he simulated an injury to force a race cancellation did not go down well with the stewards. They issued a ban for the next race. Aegerter therefore missed the second race.
In the paddock, the action caused a lot of head-shaking. I didn’t meet anyone who came to Aegerter’s defence. Some riders reacted with “no comment”. Others made it quite clear what they thought of Aegerter’s “swan dive”.
Dominique Aegerter not only put himself in danger
I agree with Scott Redding who, when asked about Aegerter’s action, pointed out the danger the marshals put themselves in to take care of him. One doesn’t want to imagine what would have happened if one of the riders had crashed at the beginning of the second lap in turn 1.
Aegerter has already apologised for his behaviour. The question is whether the action will have further consequences. Until now, Aegerter was considered a clean rider. In Most, the actually very likeable Swiss showed that he is a really tough racer who is ready to resort to any means.
This probably sounds wilder than it is. To be a successful racer, you have to have a certain slyness. Valentino Rossi, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and co. were no angels.
In this context, I also remember Jonathan Rea’s action at Magny-Cours a year ago, when he and Kawasaki obtained a track limits penalty against Toprak Razgatlioglu. In the fight for wins, titles and milestones, real racers sometimes go beyond the limits.
What implications the action has for the future
This does not mean that I think Aegerter’s action is good. But I can have some understanding of it. The question is how Yamaha will deal with it. Next season Aegerter wants to ride in the World Superbike Championship, preferably with a Yamaha R1.
But I have already been told that Yamaha race director Andrea Dosoli was anything but happy with the negative PR because of the “swan dive” and the subsequent race suspension. Yamaha is trying to have a clean image. I am curious to see how Aegerter will be perceived in the future.
But presumably the situation will relax again a bit until the next event. Until Magny-Cours, those involved have five weeks to process what has happened.
I hope that Aegerter’s action in Most will not influence Yamaha’s decision to provide him with a superbike in 2023. Based on his sporting successes, “Domi” has undoubtedly earned a factory superbike.