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Mike Webb discusses Moto2™ start in Qatar

Mike Webb discusses Moto2™ start in Qatar

MotoGP™ Race Director Mike Webb talks about the procedure for jump starts and what occurred in Qatar.

The start of the Moto2™ World Championship race in Qatar saw a total of eight riders jump the start with two different penalties given. This has led to some confusion and Race Director Mike Webb wished to shed some light on what is defined as a jump start and what happened at the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar to see two penalties given for the same infringement.

First of all, can you discuss what a ‘jump start’ is?
“A jump start is defined as moving forward at the moment the red lights go out, it’s a matter of fact and there's no decision on whether an advantage has been gained or not. There is a judgement on advantage in the case of a rider who moves a little while the red lights are on but stops again and is stationary when the red lights go out.

“In this case we look to see if they have moved a long way, what position they are in when they do actually start. All of the jump starts penalised in Qatar were that standard ‘matter of fact’ moving forward when the red lights go out.”

What caused there to be two separate penalties who jump starts?
“We had a technical issue with the jump start camera recording and playback system. Some images would not display correctly, however we were able to identify six jump starts and these riders were informed immediately and made ride through penalties.

“When we had the system running correctly again we identified two more jump starts, Morbidelli and Cortese, but this took time. The rules say that a ride through penalty must be communicated to the rider before the end of the fourth lap. When a ride through is not possible, the standard time penalty of 20 seconds is applied. We are aware that 20 seconds does not accurately reflect the ride through time at every circuit, so we are asking the GP Commission to look at this rule.”

Some fans felt that Morbidelli’s jump start was the most apparent of them all, why was his penalty later?
“Some teams have also said that the Morbidelli jump start was obvious, so why didn’t we just penalise it immediately. Clear evidence is required which is why we have a camera with 500fps on each rider with the red lights shown in the same frame, so it is clear whether the rider moves before the red light is out. The TV feed of the start shows the bikes but not the red lights in the same frame for every bike, so even if on TV it looks like a jump start, it is not hard evidence. Of course long gone are the days when we relied on a grid marshal to call in a jump start, so the dedicated jump start cameras are the only hard evidence, regardless of what the teams on pit wall see.”

Finally, what of the complaints about the lights flickering at the start?
“We heard the comments about lights flickering, but a check of the video shows nothing unusual, and I was unable to get them to misbehave when I tested them later. We also checked the length of time they were on and it was exactly 3 seconds which is right where it should be as the rules state 2-5 seconds.”


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