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MotoGP considering ‘long lap’ penalty option

Daniel Herrero

Monday 25th February, 2019 - 3:31pm

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Johann Zarco trials the long lap pic: MotoGP.com

MotoGP is considering adding a ‘long lap’ detour to its in-race penalty options after trialling the practice during the Qatar pre-season test.

A detour was marked in the asphalt run-off area on the outside of Turn 6 at the Losail International Circuit, with riders asked to trial the longer line during the test.

It would provide a more standardised penalty than the one-position drop which is currently used, although MotoGP Sporting Director Carlos Ezpeleta indicated that the long lap would now be another option for stewards rather than a replacement for the drop.

“We had the first Safety Commission of the year here in Qatar,” Ezpeleta told MotoGP.com.

“Mainly the focus was on the new possible long lap penalty proposal which Race Direction has come up with as a possible tool for the FIM MotoGP stewards.

“Basically, it consists of another layout for one of the corners, making the riders lose some time, and the idea is for it to be one other penalty.

“We came up with it to try to fix the problems that we have with the drop position penalty because it’s really hard to control and it might not be fair in some circumstances depending on how much advantage you have over the rider that’s behind you.

“So the idea is to have one more penalty, to have one more tool for the FIM stewards because right now the range of penalties that they have to impose during the race is pretty short and sometimes the ride-through penalty is too severe.

“The idea is for the rider to lose a couple of seconds or five seconds depending on the layout of the track.

“Honestly (from) the riders that have tested, the feedback is not bad at all. Of course, there are some things to improve and today was only a first test but I think that with clear and the final design, I think it’s positive.”

The long lap may not be possible at some circuits on the calendar, while the only option at Phillip Island appears to be the run-off loop on the outside of the Turn 4 Hairpin.

The final day of the Qatar test starts at midnight (AEDT).

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