Aggressive riding clampdown won't hurt MotoGP

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A new penalty points system to clampdown on dangerous and aggressive riding across all three classes in the MotoGP world championship in 2013 won’t make the likes of Valentino Rossi or Cal Crutchlow think twice about making risky overtakes.

That’s the opinion of Crutchlow’s Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team boss Herve Poncharal ahead of the new season, which will see a penalty system introduced to try and establish greater consistency when dealing with aggressive riding or other transgressions in 2013.

Race Direction has come in for criticism for the way various incidents have been dealt with in the past and the lack of consistency in the punishments handed out.

Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez was a serial offender in Moto2 having been embroiled in several controversial incidents including a hard move on Thomas Luthi in Qatar and a collision with Pol Espargaro in Catalunya back in June. He was also involved in a final round incident with Italian Simone Corse that saw him relegated to the back of the grid in Valencia. And he was involved in a controversial collision with Scott Redding’s Marc VDS teammate Mika Kallio during practice for last October’s Japanese Moto2 round.

Some felt sanctions for Marquez and other incidents were too lenient, but for 2013 points will be awarded depending on the severity of the offence and if a rider accumulates 10 points then he is immediately banned for one race.

Any rider that reaches four points will be relegated to the back of the grid, while a rider will have to start from pit lane if they reach seven points on the totting up procedure.

Once a rider has reached the 10-point threshold he reverts back to zero points and no points accrued in one season are carried onto the following campaign.

The move led to concerns from fans that racing across all classes would become boring and sterile with riders wary of the points system penalties.

But Crutchlow’s satellite Yamaha boss Poncharal told MCN: “I don’t believe this will have any impact on the riders not willing to pass or take too many risks. We don’t want a boring sport and we are only talking about extreme incidents. If what happens like it did with Marquez with Luthi then we know what the punishment is.”

Poncharal said it made sense for Race Direction to implement the penalty points system to avoid scathing criticism of judgements in the future.

He added: “I heard a lot last year that because Marquez was Spanish and because Marquez was Repsol that he almost had some special treatment from Dorna. Clearly this is not true at all. But they (Race Direction) have been hearing a lot about the controversy of their decisions and that they were being lenient on Marquez, which obviously certainly isn’t the truth.

I think the criticism hurt them and each time they took a decision it was either too soft or too harsh. If you are caught driving with alcohol in your blood or you are caught speeding there are certain set penalties in place which most people are aware of. To be able for Race Direction to take a decision, you need to have some guidelines. Now they have a guide and if they have to take a decision everybody knows the rule. Now there can be some consistency in the decisions reached.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt