During the recent MotoGP tests in Qatar, we spoke about the Long Lap Penalty, a new type of sanction that would see riders take a longer route through a corner as an alternative to having to drop a position.
The Grand Prix Commission has now decided to approve the new penalty, which can be used by the FIM Stewards as of the Qatar Grand Prix.
When the FIM MotoGP Stewards impose a Change of Position penalty on a rider, for Track Limits, or any other reason, there is a possibility of it being unfair, (depending on whether a rider is close to others or not) and it is also difficult to monitor when there are multiple infractions. To make a more fair and verifiable penalty, the Grand Prix Commission, after consultation with the Safety Commission, have agreed to introduce a new “Long Lap Penalty”.
At every circuit a route will be defined and marked at a safe point around the track, (usually an asphalt runoff area outside of a turn), which is some seconds slower than the normal racing line. The penalised rider must ride through the defined area within 3 laps of being notified, thereby suffering a penalty equivalent to several seconds, (typically 2 or more seconds), on that lap.
Procedures will be in place to enable the Stewards to use an equivalent time penalty in case the rider is unable to complete the Long Lap, (e.g. in case of a red flagged race).
While the Long Lap Penalty is primarily intended for track limits violations, it may be used in any circumstances deemed appropriate by the Stewards. The drop position penalty will continue being available to the Stewards.