MotoGP riders discuss lowering 107% cut-off rule after Ponsson debut

MotoGP riders have discussed lowering the series' 107% participation cut-off in the aftermath of Christophe Ponsson's controversial debut at Misano

MotoGP riders discuss lowering 107% cut-off rule after Ponsson debut

A participating rider needs to lap within 107% of the session benchmark in any of the four practice sessions to be allowed to qualify and race.

Ponsson, whose debut left some regulars concerned, was within the cut-off in FP2 and FP4 at Misano and participated in the race, but was denied an entry for the next round at Aragon.

Aside from the newcomer, the MotoGP field were all within 102.7% of the pole time in Misano qualifying.

Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro has now argued the current cut-off is too relaxed given how close the championship currently is.

"We are working on this, to reduce a little bit," Espargaro said.

"They have to see how they do it, because if the track is in a tricky condition or whatever, we have to see how we do it, but it's on the plan also to reduce the 107%.

"I remember [Alvaro] Bautista said one very intelligent thing - that in the past, eight to 10 years ago, the rider who was in 15th place was 3.5 seconds off pole position. Now the rider who is 15th place is eight tenths [off].

"So when somebody new is coming, he's at seven seconds [off], it's impossible. The time has changed a lot, so we have to also make the rules different."

LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow agreed with Espargaro, saying: "I believe that we should also look at the 107% [rule].

"It's not about just coming in to ride the bike because anybody can come and ride these bikes if they can pay for a weekend, but these are hard to ride.

"MotoGP is a hard class, learning the tyres, the bikes, the engines, the chassis, so I think there needs to be some sort of ruling."

Honda's championship leader Marc Marquez, however, said he was more in favour of a rule mandating that the rider tests MotoGP machinery before participating in a race weekend.

"107%, OK, you can go lower, but also you need to be flexible because sometimes [you get] rain conditions on a very long circuit.

"I think it's better to work in another way, that is maybe to have a previous test or something like this."

Ponsson made his debut without prior MotoGP mileage, and the same is true of Jordi Torres, who will replace him as Avintia Ducati's stand-in for the injured Tito Rabat at Aragon.

Torres, a Moto2 race winner, was 4.8 seconds off the pace in Friday's first practice, which put him comfortably within the 107% cut-off.

"Never ever, nobody can try MotoGP [for] the first time in a race weekend," Espargaro said on Thursday.

"This is not possible. And this rule doesn't exist right now.

"I think Jordi Torres never rode a MotoGP [bike], also will be his first time. So I also don't agree [with this]."

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Series MotoGP
Teams AB Motoracing
Author Jamie Klein
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