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Riders’ briefing in Valencia to address Qualifying tactics

Riders’ briefing in Valencia to address Qualifying tactics

Mike Webb, Race Director of the MotoGP™ World Championship, has explained that ahead of the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana he will speak to riders about the trend of slowing during practice and qualifying in order to follow other riders on track, particularly in Moto3™.

Riders’ briefings are held on Thursday afternoons ahead of Grands Prix and rider attendance is compulsory. In Valencia Webb will use the meeting to specifically cover the topic of slow riding - in order to find track space or to follow other riders – and to clarify what is expected of the riders.

In a Q&A with, Webb stated his position on the matter.

What kind of behaviour did you identify as a potential hazard in practice and qualifying at recent Grands Prix?

“In some cases riders are looking for a clear track so they can make their own fast lap without being disturbed. Sadly however, it has become more common that riders are looking for a faster rider to follow in order to get a slipstream and improve their own time by following another rider.”

“It is a matter of safety. It is very possible that a rider on a fast lap may run into a rider going slow, especially in the situation of two or more riders going fast, the first rider sees the slow rider and avoids him, the following riders may not see the slower rider until too late.”

Are there likely to be rule changes on this subject?

“Up until now I have told riders that going slow is permitted as long as they are off the racing line and not disturbing any other riders. Unfortunately now that over half the field (in Moto3™) is going slow at various times, there is no longer any room off the racing line, there is simply no clear space for a rider on a fast lap to safely get through.”

“Therefore the changes for Valencia will be in our interpretation of the current rule. I will tell the riders that going slow, looking behind and waiting for a slipstream may be considered as irresponsible or dangerous riding regardless of whether the rider is on or off the racing line and regardless of whether they think they are not disturbing anyone. We will penalise this behaviour at our discretion, regardless of where they are on the track.”

What methods of penalising riders are there in addition to fines and penalty points?

“Anything is possible depending on the severity of the offence, we can use any penalty we see fit. The obvious ones for ‘normal’ slow riding offences include grid positions (immediately at that race), plus penalty points (a cumulative penalty for repeat offenders), but I repeat all penalties are available to us.”

There are rules relating to this in the regulations, is this what could potentially be updated?

“Yes 1.21.2 is the rule we usually invoke, and the change in Valencia will be in interpretation of what we consider irresponsible. If necessary, together with the FIM, we will consider new rules for 2015.”

MotoGP, 2014

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