In order to address the issue of riders who are continually warned or penalized for “endangering other riders or committing other serious offenses like assaulting marshals or other officials”, the MotoGP rule-making Grand Prix Commission approved the institution of a new “Penalty Points” system. Race Direction will have the option of sanctioning a rider with a number of penalty points between one and 10 in addition to any other penalties that are handed down for the infraction. Certain thresholds were set for penalty points accumulated during the season, with the following sanctions to be imposed:
- Four points: Starts next race from rear of the grid
- Seven points: Starts next race from pit lane
- 10 points: Disqualification from the next event
The Grand Prix Commission is apparently hoping that disqualification from the next race will get the point across to the offending rider, as the release specifies that, “Once the ten-point sanction has been imposed, then points reset to zero.” Penalty points will also not be carried over to the next season.
The obvious impetus for this ruling was the aggressive riding tactics of Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, the reigning Moto2 champion who had numerous collisions with other riders during the 2012 season—some that resulted in sanctions from Race Direction. Now that the young Spaniard is moving up to the premier MotoGP category, most are hoping that Marquez’s aggressive riding will be tempered since there is a big difference in speeds and accumulated energy between a 600cc spec-engine Moto2 bike and a 250-horsepower MotoGP machine.
There were many other regulation changes approved by the Grand Prix Commission during the December 13 meeting, with some of the more salient ones listed below:
- Tire warmers must be removed immediately upon display of the one minute board
- Following approval of the new qualifying procedure for the MotoGP class (After the three standard 45-minute practice sessions, the ten quickest riders are seeded directly to a 15-minute QP2 session; all other riders will take part in the 15-minute QP1 session, with the top two moving on to QP2, meaning 12 riders dueling for 15 minutes for the top 12 grid positions), it is also necessary to determine the criteria for actual qualification to take part in the race - the 107% rule. To be allowed to take part in the actual qualifying sessions a rider must achieve a time better than 107% of the fastest rider in any of the four free practice sessions. It is no longer possible to qualify for the race based on a time set in the warm up. Riders who are appointed as substitutes for an injured rider after some free practice sessions have taken place and have not achieved the 107% cut off will still be allowed to participate in QP1 where they must achieve a qualifying time.
- It is no longer a requirement for the team to be notified and acknowledge the imposition of a ride through penalty due to a jump start. The requirement will be displayed at the start line to the rider and included on the information page of the timekeeping monitors.
- Carbon Composite wheels are not permitted. (As is already the case for Moto3 and Moto2).
- In 2013 Dorna will introduce a new timekeeping transponder that will have the ability to display on the dashboard additional information for the rider. This will include the ability to duplicate flag signals, such as a blue flag warning that the rider is being lapped by a faster rider. Use of a compatible dashboard is mandatory from 2014 and optional in 2013.