Not for the first time this season, practice and especially qualifying at the Sachsenring saw a group of MotoGP riders deliberately cruising on track in search of a tow.

But while the Moto3 class riders were hammered by 3 official warnings and 13 penalties for doing ‘one or more slow sectors in excess of 135% of the best session time’ on Saturday, the only ‘slow riding’ sanction in the premier class was for Stefan Bradl.

Although Bradl disrupted Marc Marquez by failing to move off the racing line soon enough, it’s not clear if the German was angling for a tow at the time.

The Sachsenring scenes, which included a near miss between Jack Miller and Marc Marquez under braking at Turn 1, followed hot on the heels of Miller and Jorge Martin tangling during some gamesmanship behind Francesco Bagnaia at Assen.

The reigning double world champion knew he would again be a prime towing target in Germany and tried a change of strategy, which ultimately backfired due to yellow flags.

“We didn’t go with the perfect strategy, but I’m 100% percent sure… everybody was waiting at the box for me,” said factory Ducati rider Bagnaia.

“I don’t understand why some guys in MotoGP still follow because we don’t need a slipstream. 

“We are at the top of our sport so if you’re in MotoGP, you can do fast laps. So I don’t understand it. And I don’t like it.”

The Italian, who later claimed the title lead with victory on Sunday, saw little point in bringing the issue up again in the riders’ Safety Commission.

“We already spoke in the past,” he said.

“But I don’t like that MotoGP looks like Moto3 [with towing], and this is a big problem for me.”

Jack Miller, Saturday, 2024 German MotoGP

Jack Miller, Saturday, 2024 German MotoGP

Acosta: ‘Maybe we need to be a better example’

MotoGP might look like Moto3 at times but rookie Pedro Acosta, a Moto3 rider just three years ago, believes the junior class competitors are copying what they see happening in the premier class.

“I see everyone was playing a bit in Qualifying 1,” Acosta said of the MotoGP towing in Germany.

“In the end, it’s quite normal that if we do these things, the young guys in Moto3 will try to copy. And there was a big number of penalties in Moto3. 

“But maybe we need to talk with the MotoGP guys because sometimes what is happening in Moto3 is because they see it in MotoGP. Maybe we need to be a better example.

“The problem starts when one person does it and doesn’t receive a penalty or warning, then you will do it for sure because it’s an advantage. Because of this, maybe we need to be harder.”

Acosta also highlighted that his famous debut Moto3 victory from a pit lane start in Qatar followed a strong ‘slow riding’ penalty.

“I remember my second race in the [Moto3] championship, I had a pit lane start in Qatar. The penalties were hard then…

“Maybe we need to see what we can do to be more strong in MotoGP.”