MotoGP are set to use a new penalty system in priority over the “drop position” penalty currently available at the stewards discretion, for infractions less severe than that worthy of a ride-through. Carmelo Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO, set out the plan of Dorna and FIM to have a penalty system that was more accurately applicable than the “drop position” rule which can cost more than one rider a significant amount of time.
It is understood that this penalty system is not designed to replace the ride-through penalty. Confusingly to penalty system referred to as the “long lap” penalty, hopefully this reference term is only temporary as this system is not alien to motorsport and has been used in club racing for many, many years. Most notably in Denmark, where the national motor-racing events utilize a penalty lane if competitors impede others to a significant disadvantage.
Set to be used at all tracks where a penalty lane can be positioned, the first race of the season in Qatar will have a lane edged by white lines which extends on the outside of Turn 6, supplying the longer distance route needed to penalize a rider if they receive an infraction.
I have to say it’s a welcome addition if it usurps “dropping” a position as the stewards default penalty call. What I am looking forward to is where these penalty lanes will be setup on the circuits in the season calendar. At Mugello and Sachsenring I feel like they will struggle to find an applicable area to place any kind of penalty lane and at tracks like Buriram and Valencia, I feel it’s possible given the areas of runoff, but I’m curious to see what the penalty lanes look like when the MotoGP circus arrives there.