MotoGP Disciplinary Panel Confirmed, Headed by Race Director Mike Webb

2015 MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo 1 photo
As reported earlier, the Grand Prix Commission met last week to analyze the opportunity of putting together a new body that is supposed to deal with race incidents. The members of the GPC reached consensus, and a new disciplinary panel was formed.
The duties of analyzing the race incidents and even other discipline-related issues were therefore taken away from Race Direction in an effort to obtain more accurate solutions for such problems in a shorter amount of time.

Race Director Mike Webb is the head of the new body, and he will be aided by two stewards who will be appointed by the FIM. When Webb has to take over the duties as head of the disciplinary panel, his Race Director attributes will be taken over by his deputy, Graham Webber.

It is yet unclear whether the two stewards will receive a season-long mandate or new ones will be appointed for each race, though the latter possibility seems more unlikely.

The formulation of rule 1.21.2 remains vague and will not make life easier for the new disciplinary panel

The GP rulebook refers to the behavior of riders during the race in the section 1.21.2, as follows:

"2. Riders must ride in a responsible manner which does not cause danger to other competitors or participants, either on the track or in the pit-lane. Any infringement of this rule will be penalised with one of the following penalties: penalty points - fine - change of position - ride through – time penalty – drop of any number of grid position at the rider’s next race – disqualification - withdrawal of Championship points - suspension."

It doesn't take a motorcycle road racing safety expert to figure out that "irresponsible riding" is a concept that can be interpreted in so many ways. However, this ample and somewhat loose concept is the sole alternative to a long list that would have to contain pretty much all the possible rule-breaking types of behavior.

Even so, particular incidents would surely be hard to be punished using these definitions, especially because some riders would try to defend themselves stating that their actions were different to those in the book.

It remains to be seen how efficient the new disciplinary panel will be. It's not that much left until the 2016 season starts, and the rivalries on the track might cause things to become a bit rough around the edges between at least three riders.
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