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Race Direction introduce new rules to combat tow tactics

Race Direction introduce new rules to combat tow tactics

Before the Motul TT Assen the Moto3™ grid met with Race Direction’s Mike Webb to discuss safety issues with slip-streaming in Qualifying.

Qualifying for the Catalunya round of the World Championship saw up to thirty Moto3™ riders riding slowly on the racing line, endangering not only themselves but also others on track. Riders waiting for a tow is not a new problem in Moto3™, nor any class, but Catalunya saw the issue reach a critical point and demonstrate that the previous penalty system was not working.

“We have an on going problem especially in Moto3 where riders specifically wait for a faster rider to go past so they can follow in hopes of improving their lap time,” said Mike Webb. He continued, “At some circuits it’s not a big problem but in Catalunya it was a big problem in Moto3. In those conditions no one has a chance to set a fast lap and it’s dangerous.”

Previously, a rider found to be riding dangerously would be given a penalty point with the collection of these resulting in various sanctions such as starting from the back of the grid, from the pits or being disqualified from the race. This proved ineffective in the Moto3™ class.

Beginning in Assen riders must be within 107% of their normal lap time with each circulation in Free Practice and Qualifying sessions. This is not a hard limit, but more of an indicator to Race Direction and as such riders falling outside this 107% margin will be reviewed. If it is found a rider was deliberately slow to wait for another rider they will be penalised with warnings, which may lead to a penalty affecting grid positions.

If this system fails, Race Direction has proposed a change to the format of Qualifying. This suggested change is similar to the old ‘Superpole’ system where riders leave the pit-lane one by one to ensure each rider has a ‘clean’ lap. This would reduce the number of riders on track to remove the problem. This is an extreme solution and Mike Webb is keen to avoid this radical final step.

Moto3, 2015

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