MotoGP Spielberg: The rules are the rules! Or are they not?

Pramac Ducati Fahrer Jorge Martin

What are the rules worth if the interpretation is different every time? Actually, the interpretation of the rules should always be the same. But this MotoGP season shows a different truth. The rules seem to be an absolute matter of interpretation.

A little definition

Let’s look at it from the top. What are the rules? A rule is a set of guidelines derived from certain regularities, derived from experience and knowledge, established by agreement and considered binding for a specific area. To translate it to the race track, this means – Rules are like curbs. They give the race track its shape and show the limit. So much for the theory. Now the practice. A rule is defined, written down and an authority ensures that the rule is adhered to.

Now this MotoGP season is marked by the ongoing discussion about the performance of the stewards. Wrong decisions and different interpretations of the rules are causing unrest among the riders. They feel they are being treated unfairly. In addition, uncertainty also arises when the rules are interpreted so differently. So what should they stick to?

 A small example

Last weekend’s sprint race in Spielberg was a prime example of a different interpretation of the rules. Right at the beginning the first, let’s say, controversial scene. Well, actually it was very clear. Jorge Martin was way too late and bowled several riders out right at the start of the race. The Pramac Ducati rider had clearly missed his breaking point and used the other riders as a guardrail. The decision of the stewards – situation will be reviewed, evaluated afterwards and any penalty imposed after the race. Means no direct penalty in the race and therefore no disadvantage for Jorge Martin. Although even in the sprint race there would have been enough time to evaluate the situation and pronounce a penalty.

A little later, Jorge Martin took center stage again. This time it came to an encounter with VR46 rider Luca Marini. Again the Pramac rider was too late, again another rider had to serve as a guardrail. For Marini the encounter ended in the gravel. Reaction of the stewards – No punishable offense by Jorge Martin, no penalty. Just a few moments later, a similar situation occurred between Fabio Quartararo and Lorenzo Savadori. The Yamaha factory rider Quartararo was also too late on the brakes and sent Savadori into the gravel.  Decision of the stewards this time – Long Lap penalty for Quartararo. So and now the master question – how not to be confused as a rider?

A small suggestion

In the end, everyone was at a loss. The drivers, the fans, the spectators, the journalists. This is no way to bring calm to the entire season. On the contrary. Since the beginning of the season, the discussions about the decisions have been dragging on. I’m also not a fan of punishing every little thing. There needs to be a consistent line. I can’t be ultra petty about track limits and then make different decisions in the race for two almost identical accidents. Maybe there needs to be more exchange with the current drivers and also with the alumni. Maybe there needs to be a debriefing after the race weekends where such scenes are looked at again with distance in order to learn from them in the future and analyze mistakes. The top priority should be a unified line, so that there is finally an orientation for all. 

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