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The beating wings ... of the MotoGP Stewards panel between long laps and flags

In the event of a sudden failure, the wing could not only get stuck somewhere (it was knocking against the front fork) but end up under the front wheel of a following competitor, causing him to crash. So why wasn't the black/orange flag brought out?

MotoGP: The beating wings ... of the MotoGP Stewards panel between long laps and flags

The world championship rules don’t have an organization capable of enforcing them, and in some cases, it doesn't even know them.

Controversy over long lap penalties, whether right or wrong, resurfaces at every Grand Prix and shooting at Freddie Spencer and his stewards is like doing it at the red cross. It's not funny.

After all, the application of the rules in MotoGP is not even entrusted to common sense, which would even be an unacceptable discriminator, but to simple chance.

Identical cases are treated differently without being able to understand the logic behind the decision. So much so that by now the javelins thrown at random by the MotoGP Steward Panel towards this or that rider is only good for creating Memes on Facebook. Besides, of course, justifiably pissing people off…

A funny meme on the case of Acosta at Assen

At Assen, as we saw, Binder was penalized for putting a wheel on the green in the final sprint, but not Acosta for having gone onto the green during the long lap penalty. Moreover, on the inside, therefore in theory giving him a possible, very slight advantage.

Without passing judgement on whether Pedro deserved the punishment, given that the mistake was the result of a save, how is his acquittal justified if at the previous Grand Prix, at the Sachsenring, Alonso Lopez, for having gone over on the outside , ending up in the gravel with an obvious loss of time, was forced to repeat it?

A case of colour blindness? A recommendation? Sadism? None of that: just absolute and utter lack of logic. But we'll end it here, because when it comes to law, certain rules must be matched by certain sanctions handed out with rapid decisions.

But why do they exist? The reasons are essentially two: justice and safety. In both cases important factors. And here is the final statement.

In the FIM Grand Prix regulations, in article 1.22.2, when speaking of 'Flags Which Convey Information and Instructions', the 'Black Flag with orange disk (Ø 40 cm)' is identified clearly.

The wing could have broken off and ended up under the wheels of Aleix's chasers causing them to crash: a typical black/orange flag case.

The Black Flag with an orange circle is rarely used, but it is one of the most important together with the red one which signals the immediate interruption of the race and the yellow one with red stripes which indicates oil or debris on the track. And the reason is simple: waved with a rider's race number, it signals to the latter that he must stop immediately because, from the outside, the Marshals have noticed a technical problem on his bike. Problem that could lead to a dangerous situation for the rider himself or for another competitor.

In the days of two-stroke engines it was usually hung out when a muffler failed, which could then come off and cause another competitor to crash. Sometimes a muffler danced around. Today this incident is rarer, but another equally dangerous one happened in Assen: Aleix Espargarò broke the front right wing of his Aprilia RSGP. Instead of coming off, this remained dangerously dangling. Luckily the carbon didn't yield completely, and Aleix finished the Grand Prix on the podium, after Binder's penalty.

We are delighted, but this would have been a typical case of application of article 1.22.1, because in the event of sudden failure the wing - which is of considerable size - might have not only gotten stuck somewhere (it was knocking against the front fork), but it could even have gotten under the front wheel of a following rider causing him to crash.

According to the rules this flag is used to convey instructions to an individual rider and is waved at each post by the Marshals together with the rider’s number. This flag informs the rider that his bike has mechanical problems which may endanger himself or others, and that he must leave the track immediately. The rider cannot rejoin the track unless authorized by a race official.

So why wasn't the black/orange flag waved? It is true that the decision should have been taken by the Race Direction. Posterity will be the judge of that.


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