Pit stops and non-stop races for 2003

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Rain will no longer delay the start or cause races to be paused from 2003 in both GPs and WSB. Racers will be able to make pit stops to change tyres to match changing conditions.

Or, of course, they could risk it and continue: cue more drama.

Moves to run non-stop races whatever the weather conditions were instigated by GP rights owners Dorna 18 months ago.

Some farcical scenes have marred more than one GP over the past couple of years. And in some cases the main spectacle of the day – the 500 race – has started as much as an hour behind schedule, causing havoc to money-spinning TV coverage.

The decision to abandon weather stoppages was unanimously agreed at the final GP in Rio in early November and ratified by the the FIM earlier this month.

GP Race Director Paul Butler said: “We have the audience to consider as well. After the rain at Mugello I saw a few fans at the airport on the way back home and they weren’t aware that Alex Barros had won the race. We want to be in a situation where the rider who is leading on the road is the rider actually leading the race.”

Telefonica MoviStar Suzuki boss Garry Taylor said: “I understand the reasons for this but there are a lot of real safety concerns. Mechanics will be under much more pressure needing to change tyres and carbon brakes to steel brakes as quickly as possible but there will be a lot of mechanics leaving the pitwall while bikes are coming in. We saw this year at Phillip Island what can happen when a rider and mechanic collided in the pitlane during the race. The rule also gives the option for riders to stay out on slicks gambling that the weather may improve while everybody else in the pits but they could crash and take out four or five other riders.”

At present there are no plans for the world championship ruling to be implemented in the British superbike series.

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff