At the start of the race weekend in Le Mans, there was much discussion, because the past race of Jerez still had an effect. The MotoGP riders were dissatisfied. Again. Somehow it seems to become a permanent condition in the 2023 season. No race weekend has been without discussion. This time, however, the discussions are not limited to the drivers alone, they now also involve the officials. If you’re not careful, a rift will develop, because so many discussions and the accompanying dissatisfaction leave their mark.
New rule interpretation
The focus of the discussions is the stewards. In the opinion of the MotoGP riders, penalties are being handed out arbitrarily – there is no clear line to be seen. This dissatisfaction has now culminated in Le Mans, resulting in a debate between the MotoGP riders and the stewards. On Friday, the two parties reached an agreement. For simple touches between two riders, a “Drop 1 Position” penalty will be issued. The rider who caused the contact must drop back one position. If a crash results from the contact, a Long Lap Penalty will be assessed.
The problem seemed solved, the MotoGP riders appeased. This state lasted only until the sprint race on Saturday. After a situation between Brad Binder and Luca Marini, the Italian demanded a penalty. In his eyes, the KTM rider Binder should have been given a Drop 1 position penalty, as it was decided the day before. But it remained with the demand and thus arose incomprehension. For the stewards it was a normal race situation.
This raises the question of when contact is part of the race and when it is not. Here, too, there are two opinions among the MotoGP drivers. There’s the “Super Cautious” faction – led by Aleix Espargaro, who keeps calling for tougher penalties and is now so resigned that there will be no comment on the stewards until the end of the season. On the other hand, there is the second faction, “That’s Racing” – with Marc Marquez as the loudest representative. From his point of view, most accidents are normal racing accidents and should therefore not be penalized. Moreover, in his opinion, the discussions should end, otherwise it will be a topic at every race weekend.
What could be the solution?
So if even the MotoGP riders don’t agree, how are the stewards supposed to follow a clear line? A consistent line needs to be found. Race action – Yes. Hard duels – Absolutely. Overtaking maneuvers that leave no room for the opponent – No. In addition, the MotoGP riders must also find a good measure again. I found the race today at Le Mans frightening at times. It no longer had the quality and coolness that I expect from a MotoGP race. It was like a Moto3 race. I would like to add a quote from Casey Stoner, which has become more and more true for me lately. “You seem to have more ambition than talent,” Stoner said to Rossi after the collision at the Jerez GP in 2011. Both crashed and retired.
Consistent decisions by the stewards, a clear line in the interpretation of the rules and the necessary respect among the riders. If all this comes together, it can be a great season and the rifts can be overcome.
Your Miss MotoGP