Flopping, exaggerating or faking contact or injury to encourage officials to call a foul has become such an endemic aspect of professional sports that it has become cliché to make fun of the practice. Now, it seems like flopping has made its first appearance in international motorcycle racing, in the Supersport World Championship, after rider Dominique Aegerter faked an injury in a desperate attempt to get the race red-flagged and restarted.
The Supersport World Championship is the second-tier support series for the FIM Superbike World Championship, the production-based counterpart to MotoGP. The current landscape in Supersport has been dominated by Aegerter, who is a ten-season veteran of Moto2, MotoGP’s second-tier class, and won the Supersport championship in his debut season in 2021. This year, Aegerter has been undefeated after finishing second in the season’s first race. He had won nine consecutive races heading into last weekend, on the verge of winning an unprecedented tenth race in a row.
Aegerter lined up fourth on the grid for last weekend’s first race at Autodrom Most in the Czech Republic. He managed a good launch from the grid and looked to get around Federico Caricasulo for third place. Though, there was contact between several riders directly behind him. Aegerter and his Yamaha were collected in a five-rider pileup, ending his quest for a tenth consecutive victory. However, Aegerter had one last desperate idea to keep himself in contention.
After standing for a moment, Aegerter decided to fall back down on the gravel and pretend to be injured. The line of thought was if he needed to be tended to by medical officials, the race would be red flagged, per FIM regulations. If the race was stopped, he could rejoin the field for the restart. However, the race wasn’t stopped and his winning streak was over.
Things would get worse for Aegerter. The circuit’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) ruled Aegerter unfit for the weekend’s second race due to concussion-like symptoms. After explaining to the CMO that he had faked his injuries, he was again examined and declared fit for the race. However, the event stewards were made aware of Aegerter actions and immediately banned him from the race.
“Following an FIM Stewards investigation, FIM Stewards ruled that Aegerter acted in an unsporting manner by simulating a medical situation in order to delay the recovery process and thus force a stoppage of the race by red flag. This is something that the 31-year-old Swiss rider admitted to with a supporting statement, submitted medical staff and then to the FIM Stewards. For his unsporting behaviour, he has been given an immediate one race ban, which means he did not take part in Race 2 at Most.
After clarifications of yesterday’s behaviour to the Chief Medical Officer of the circuit and the subsequent further medical assessments and examinations that have been made, it is declared that Dominique Aegerter would have been fit to race but did not take part due to the FIM Stewards’ ruling.”
Dominique Aegerter has shown some remorse and apologized for what he did,
“First of all, I am sorry about the whole situation that arose after the incident in Race 1. As it was a very hectic situation, I did not act correctly and made mistakes. There was a lot of pressure, adrenaline and emotions. I never wanted to put other people in danger; I want to apologize for that.”
Aegerter still leads the championship by 14 points, despite not scoring points in either race in the Czech Republic.