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Bagnaia: MotoGP riders need “clear idea” from stewards on penalties

MotoGP world champion Francesco Bagnaia says riders need “a clear idea” from the stewards over penalties, following the controversies of the Portuguese GP.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

MotoGP stewarding has been under the spotlight this week following the crash between Marc Marquez and Miguel Oliveira in the Portuguese GP, and the resulting fallout over the penalty applied.

Marquez was given a double long lap penalty for the incident, that initially looked like it would never be served as he was ruled out of the Argentina GP last Monday due to injury.

The FIM stewards then altered the wording of its penalty statement, saying the punishment would be upheld at the next round Marquez attends – something Honda felt contravened the regulations and launched an appeal.

Honda’s case will now be heard in the FIM Court of Appeals in Switzerland.

This, as well as numerous incidents of inconsistency during the Portugal weekend have ignited the debate over the effectiveness of the current FIM stewards’ panel.

Ahead of this weekend’s Argentina GP, championship leader Bagnaia says riders will be asking in Friday’s safety commission meeting for better clarity on the application of penalties.

“I think we need to ask for more of a clear idea of the safety, of the penalties, because in this moment it’s very difficult to understand,” the Ducati rider said.

“An example: in FP1 last year in Misano, I slowed down because I thought I took the chequered flag and I was on the [racing] line and I got a three grid position penalty [for impeding].

“In qualifying [in Portugal], I had a red sector going through sector two, I was trying to improve my lap time and four riders were on the line riding slow, and I lost my lap.

“But nobody said anything to these riders. So, it’s very difficult to understand.

“It’s difficult to know what they are doing about Marc’s sanction, because it’s difficult to understand that someone can make a mistake like this. So, I think we have to ask for more clear ideas.”

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales concedes that the stewards’ job is “very complicated” as no incident is the same, but says riders have to be able to “believe” that the FIM’s decisions are the correct ones.

“It’s difficult to give any more information,” Vinales added.

“Honestly, for me, we must believe that the choices and the penalties are correct, because in the end I can imagine it’s very complicated because you can see things in very different ways.

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“But we must follow one rule. The thing is that it’s very difficult to arrive to a conclusion of a rule, because there were many [different] understandings of the situations.

“And also this is racing, never will one situation be the same. It will depend also on the place, the laps.

“Maybe with a better understanding, things can improve. But I can imagine that right now the stewards have a very complicated job it’s difficult to improve.”

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