A young Spanish moto racer has become the latest victim of online bullying from Indonesian netizens after he bumped into Indonesia’s Mario Suryo Aji in a race, effectively ending the latter’s hopes of reaching the podiums at the 2021 FIM CEV Moto3’s Barcelona series.
Aji, who races for Astra Honda Racing Team, fell in the first race of the series, at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya on Sunday, after Spain’s Dani Muñoz bumped into him during an overtake attempt at a curve. Nevertheless, the 17-year-old motorcycle racer from East Java’s Magetan regency managed to finish the race in 6th while Munoz finished 7th, having been penalized one for causing the incident.
Aji’s Muñoz-shaped bad luck continued to haunt him in the second race that same day, which he didn’t finish because of yet another collision with the Spaniard. Muñoz reportedly fell as he was unable to avoid another motorcycle, and his motorcycle crashed into Aji’s, taking the Indonesian out of the race.
Enraged by these successive collisions, Indonesian fans stormed Muñoz’s Instagram page with profanities in various languages, some of them going so far as to send death threats.
“You asshole did not play fair, you fucking jerk,” one comment read. Others called Muñoz a “cheat rider” and that “If yesterday’s incident occurred at an Indonesian circuit, Dani possibly couldn’t get home safely.”
The online bullying was troubling enough that Aji posted a story on Instagram urging his fans to leave Muñoz alone, noting that crashes are an inevitability in the sport.
“Can’t believe I have to say this, but please refrain from sending Dani Munoz death threats for his move on me, it’s racing. You can be disappointed but please stop sending in hate speech [comments]! [It’s a] regular thing that happens in racing,” Aji wrote.
We wish for the day that Indonesian netizens can learn to be civil to others online — especially after the country came last in Southeast Asia in the the Digital Civility Index (DCI) survey conducted by Microsoft earlier this year. However, this latest incident shows that we still have a long way to go.