Over the weekend at the RedBud National, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo had a pair of off-track incidents, both occurring on the opening lap of the first 250 Class moto.
First, Dylan Ferrandis’ and his lines came together, which resulted in Cianciarulo landing off the track and continuing his path and speed alongside the track before reentering at the take-off of an uphill triple.
Then in the turn before the finish line, Cianciarulo slipped at the take-off of the finish line jump and almost made contact with JGR/Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Alex Martin. Cianciarulo landed off the track and seemed to keep up with riders on the track before sneaking back on right in front of Joey Crown at the end of the straightaway.
It wasn’t the first time Cianciarulo had gone off the track this season. In June at the True Value Thunder Valley National Cianciarulo made a mistake and shot off the track while attempting to run down Justin Cooper (if you don’t remember, you can read about it here).
A protest was filed by Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha, which, after a period of deliberation that stretched for several hours afterward, resulted in no penalty for Cianciarulo. At RedBud there would be no waiting and a clear decision was made immediately—Cianciarulo did not slow down either time he left the track. He was officially docked two positions from where he finished the race for not decelerating when leaving the track (one position for each occurrence). At Thunder Valley, he paused and looked back before reentering the track, but both times at RedBud he did a quick—and we mean quick—glance over his shoulder while maintaining his speed. Watch the incidents from Adam's perspective:
He was running fourth at the end of the moto but Martin’s bike blowing up on the last lap allowed him to come across the line in third. Due to the penalty, he was officially awarded fifth place. Once the moto had ended, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team and Adam Cianciarulo told officials their side of the story, but the ruling had already been made official. Cianciarulo has now had three off-track occurrences, with the latter two costing him four points and eliciting an even closer watch over his every move.
“Obviously, after Colorado I’m going to have a microscope on me,” he told our Steve Matthes afterward. “What I told him [AMA official Jeff Canfield] after the race, ‘This is you getting heat from Star.’ They feel like they got screwed at Colorado, and now I did this.”
Adam said he hadn’t left the track on purpose, it just happened.
“I understand that I need to stay on the track,” Adam said in the post-race press conference. “I don’t think that I can just go wherever I want out there. I got sketchy jumping that on the first lap, but I’m just out there trying my best. I’m definitely not looking to try to cheat or anything like that. They saw it how they saw it. I didn’t agree. It is what it is. I felt terrible. I just kind of grinded it out in survival mode out there and ended up with a third. It’s frustrating to get the news that you got pushed back a couple spots and [I had] worked really hard for these points.”
Cianciarulo then referred to the Ferrandis situation from Southwick.
“What I don’t understand, last week Ferrandis jumps off the track twice wide open, hitting berms,” he said. “It’s right on TV. Wide open. Nothing. Now this time, it’s different. So there’s just no consistency there. I was bummed. I think everybody knows by now that I’m not here to not take accountability."
As Jason Thomas wrote in his weekly column Breakdown, which you can read here, “The interesting thing is Adam isn’t the only one who has been off the track. His closest competitors have both been off the track in recent weeks, most notably Dylan Ferrandis’ adventure in Southwick. Regardless of the decision, one side of this coin is going to be upset (blue or green). We have a precedent now so watch for anything relevant moving forward. There will be big pressure for action if anyone leaves the race course for any reason.”
This has occurred three times now. The next time it happens, might Cianciarulo face a harsher penalty? Does this change the standard for off-track incidents going forward? Only time will tell. All that Cianciarulo can do is keep it on the track, and everything will work itself out. He said we would see a different version of him in 2019—let’s see how the new Cianciarulo handles this judicial curveball moving forward.