MotoGP riders will trial a new penalty system this weekend at the Qatar test, using a new loop added to the Losail circuit. Instead of dropping a place or being given a time penalty for misdemeanours like cutting corners or passing under a yellow flag, they will now have to ride an extended section of track.
The loop of track has been added to turn six and will be tested by riders in tonight’s session, with a safety commission meeting due to discuss it after the chequered flag. Designed to add about two and a half seconds to the lap time, it will replace the current system of adding in extra time based on the advantage believed to be gained by cutting a corner or exceeding track limits – something that race control has been cracking down on in recent months.
It’s believed that if riders deem the new system to be successful, it could be tested in race conditions at Losail in two weeks’ time for the first race – and potentially rolled out across the championship in the future.