Freddie Spencer and the Stewards showed up at the Safety Commission last night. A meeting called by the riders, who have often criticized the decisions of the FIM commissioners, whose task is to penalize behaviors deemed incorrect on the track.
The problem is that their measure of judgment varies greatly and no one really knows what it actually is. Similar episodes are sometimes penalized, and other times they’re not. The penalties change. In short, there’s total confusion. “We’d like to hear their point of view and share ours,” was the objective of the meeting.
It’s hard to say if a simple meeting will change things, but it’s at least a first step towards confronting a very prickly situation. The FIM (finally) seems to have noticed that something isn’t working and took advantage of the opportunity to submit a questionnaire to riders and team managers and ask them their opinions on several episodes that occurred in the past. They were essentially asked to judge cases that were previously penalized in order to know how they would treat them, whether or not they deserved a penalty, and which kind of penalty.
Motorsport interviewed several riders after they left the Safety Commission. The most critical were Fabio Quartararo, Marc Marquez, and Alex Rins: “We didn’t reach a conclusion,” they said, while Bagnaia had a different opinion: “It was a positive meeting.” As did Marini: “One meeting isn’t enough, but communication and dialogue are always the best solutions.”
So there was no single position on the riders’ part. A sign that the road towards improving the situation is still long, as could be expected. An hour-long meeting and a questionnaire certainly aren’t enough to solve an issue that has become entrenched over time, and for which the Stewards have been repeatedly distrusted by all the riders.