Why MotoGP Needs to Change

The 2015 season is over, Jorge Lorenzo is the new premier class world champion. The 18 races this year brought us almost everything we wanted, and then some. Thankfully, nobody died even though the speed of the bikes increased, and we couldn't be any happier. Or could we?
It's no secret that this intriguing and thrilling championship is also one of the seasons with the most disturbing finale. Things were so controversial that they simply can't be judged in terms of black and white, no matter how passionate the fans and supporters of the top three riders are.

Even if the racing action for 2015 ended, the echoes of what happened in the last three races are still alive. Even more, they don't seem to fade away and answers are still expected from the bodies that govern the series and the sporting world itself.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport still has some answering to do

Rossi's appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is still expected to receive a ruling. The first response was that his appeal for a stay of the penalty was rejected, so he had to take the start at Valencia from the last row.

It's impossible to be 100% sure, but should he have started from his normal Qualifying position, the outcome of the race would have maybe been different.

On the other hand, the CAS still has to issue a ruling as to what happened in Sepang between Rossi and Marquez. The somewhat funny thing is that there are a lot of people who know MotoGP extremely well and who say that the Race Direction made a huge mistake.

Some of these fellows strongly believe that RD didn't have to wait until after the race to make a call. As they had access to all the camera angles, they could have quickly analyzed what happened and issue a solution during the next laps.

Inappropriate Race Direction decisions affect the championship in ways that should not be

One of the fellows I mentioned is Carlo Pernat, and he is unquestionably one of the people with a superior understanding of the premier class.

Even though passing the ultimate judgment on what happened during the last three rounds is a very complex undertaking, I seem to agree with him in saying that RD's decision was wrong. And even more, led to an unnatural alteration in the track action.

Pernat says that a ride through the pit lane would have been more suitable as instant punishment at Sepang, with a better, more detailed analysis after the race being the natural course of events. And further penalties would have also been welcome in case RD's post-race inquiry found them necessary.

Rossi's public declarations lit a fuse, but the latter events seem to indicate that he was indeed telling the truth

MM93 and JL99 fans were quite vocal in accusing Rossi of "hate speech" after his flaming declarations ahead of Sepang. Many think that what followed is only fair retribution for his unnecessary flaming. Should he have kept his mouth shut? Possibly, but this would have not changed anything, most likely.

The Doctor's declarations and not-that-subtle allegations have indeed set fire to an already tensed atmosphere. In the wake of the Valencia race, it looks like Rossi was right, even though his initial declarations might have arrived at a very bad time.

A lot of people saw the non-combat attitude of Marquez, and his declarations of riding at the very limit aren't, unfortunately, enough to eliminate all the suspicions.

Pedrosa was insanely fast in the latter stages of the race, yet Marquez only attacked him when he was overtaken.

The season is over, and nothing can be changed, but we surely can look at what happened, analyze and learn. One has to be truly a MotoGP noob or too blind to see that Marquez's attitude towards Lorenzo yesterday was... tame, for lack of a better term.

The Honda rider was the only one who could keep up with Lorenzo from the get-go and through the end of the race, at least until Pedrosa found the right temperature for his tires.

Dani Pedrosa admitted that he overheated his tires pushing too hard in the early stages of the race and had to bring their temperature down before he could launch an attack on the two riders at the top. And attack he did...

In the final third of the race Pedrosa not only managed to cover the gap from Marquez and Lorenzo but he was also in a position to attack his teammate. It doesn't take a motorcycle racing specialist to figure out that if Pedrosa closed to MM93 earlier at Valencia, he'd most likely zoomed past him... and Lorenzo.

The 2016 champion in fact said that, towards the end of the race, his rear tire was destroyed and he made huge efforts to maintain the pace and remain upright. Meanwhile, behind him Marquez was magically experiencing troubles that prevented him from attacking the Yamaha in front. And please bear in mind that Marc Marquez is unanimously regarded as the most aggressive rider on the grid...

Still, MM93 found sufficient grunt to fight an insanely fast Pedrosa, and by doing this, give Lorenzo some slack. I did not observe if MM93 pit board also conveyed info as to what position Rossi occupied in the race, but I can bet he knew that Pedrosa passing him could spell trouble.

Pedrosa would have most likely dealt swiftly with Lorenzo, leaving Marquez with a tough choice. Not attacking JL99 and potentially having to answer in front of the team and maybe RD for non-combat, or fight for the victory and pass Lorenzo, thus handing the 2015 title to Rossi.

We remind you that with Lorenzo in third, Rossi had to finish sixth or better. The Italian rider was already fourth and was several seconds ahead of the next rider.

Nobody else but the rider knows how a bike feels

If anything, MM93's non-combat is impossible to prove, as it is impossible to be denied. Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso has a very sensible approach to this affair. He says that a rider is the only one who can appreciate how well a bike performs in a race, and how confident everything feels.

DesmoDovi is clearly not taking sides in this matter, but his declaration is a very good way of expressing how tricky things are. Marquez could, maybe, be telling the truth when he says he rode to the limit at the end of the Valencia race. However, there is no way one can verify this, so we are forced to take his words with a grain of salt.

Concidences? Maybe, but Race Direction reactions and the rulebooks must certainly be revised

Judging how things developed from Phillip Island onwards, it's hard to believe in coincidences, if you ask me. There are simply too many points where such coincidences are just too strong, and for the next season, Race Direction should do their homework much better if they want to remain credible.

Pernat is more radical and says that the race directorate should change as of the end of the 2015 season. I won't say neither yay or nay about this, but when it comes to rules and the actions the MotoGP regulatory bodies must take, I feel that major changes are needed.

Honda refused to come forth with data recorded by Marquez's bike. Analyzing what the bike's inertial sensors recorded during the Sepang incident could prove essential for solving this thorny issue. Race Direction should have asked Honda to provide the IMU recordings the first thing after MM93 parked his bike in the Repsol box, and then do the same when Rossi's Yamaha appeared in its own box.

Comparing the two sets of recorded data, superimposing it with GPS and track layout and throttle/brake information from the incident would have provided a better picture of what actually happened in Sepang.

Failing to do so and failing to take the right measures against all those found at fault means, in fact, failing at doing what Race Direction is supposed to do. Namely, enforcing fair play conditions on the track and making sure everybody plays by the rules.

For some reason, the 2015 season lacked the feeling that MotoGP was any longer a gentlemen's sport, and I can't wait to see this awesome aura restored. It's not a thing that's up to the riders, but is entirely in the Race Direction and FIM's hands to do so.

Please bring transparency and fair play back to MotoGP so that this remains a clean sport, no matter what names are involved in track battles!
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