Following the trials held during Qatar MotoGP test, the FIM has confirmed the introduction of ‘Long Gap Penalty’ from 2019 onward.
An electronic meeting was held on March 1 with Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Paul Duparc (FIM), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA) in attendance which officiated the ‘Long Gap Penalty’ in MotoGP from 2019 onward.
The idea is to impose fair penalty on riders for abusing track limits or any other major grievance multiple times in a race weekend. The circuits will have a route defined – usually as ashpalt run-off area – which the riders will have to take when penalised.
It will be at a safe point on the circuit which will force the rider to lose crucial seconds, thereby, impacting his overall race performance. In case of red flag or otherwise, the total time needed to cover the area will be added to the rider’s total time.
The ‘Long Gap Penalty’ was recently trialed by riders in Qatar. It was received positively with the leading MotoGP riders happy to have it implemented as soon as possible so that multiple infractions are dealt with fairly.
Full statement from MotoGP on the new penalty:
“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).
This penalty will be added to the list of sanctions available to the FIM MotoGP Stewards, and whilst it 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.”