If there was any doubt that Race Direction in MotoGP is trying to impose a stricter code of behavior on riders in all three Grand Prix classes, the bumper crop of penalty points issued at Aragon and Sepang makes their intention clear.
At Aragon, three penalty points were awarded: One for Alessandro Tonucci in Moto3, for staying on the line during qualifying, and one for Sandro Cortese for the incident in the Moto2 race, when he touched Alex De Angelis, causing the Italian to crash.
The most discussed penalty was of course the one issued for Marc Marquez, who was penalized for the touch on Dani Pedrosa, which severed the cable to Pedrosa’s rear-wheel speed sensor, confusing the electronics and causing the unlucky Pedrosa to be ejected from his Repsol Honda.
Ultimately, Marquez had to wait until Sepang to be hear what the punishment for that incident would be, after Race Direction asked for more data.
At Sepang, a couple more penalty points were handed out. One to Pol Espargaro, for not respecting the newly instated starting zones, and cutting across in front of other riders waiting to do a practice start, and one for Maverick Viñales, for his excessively robust move in the run to the finish line, when he barged Jack Miller aside to grab 5th place.
Ten riders have now been issued penalty points, for incidents ranging back to Jerez. The two repeat offenders now lead the Table Of Shame, Marc Marquez leading Maverick Viñales, with Ricky Cardus on the same number of points as Viñales, despite only having committed a single offence.
Marquez has a total of three points, the single point issued for the incident at Aragon coming on top of two points awarded for the crash at Silverstone during morning warm up, when he ignored yellow flags and sent the marshalls scurrying for cover as they worked to clear Cal Crutchlow’s fallen bike, an incident that could have had very serious consequences.
Viñales’ two points came in separate incidents, one for the barge at Sepang, and one for pushing his bike the wrong way down pit lane at Mugello.
Only Marquez is in any real danger of suffering a penalty, however. The Spaniard’s total of three points brings him within a single point of being forced to start from the back of the grid. It would take only a relatively minor misdeed to handicap Marquez, and Race Direction are hoping that such a prospect will rein him in for the rest of the season.
Accumulating a total of four points will force Marc Marquez – or any rider – to start from the back of the grid. If a rider amasses seven points, they are forced to start from pit lane, ten seconds after the rest of the field has cleared. A total of ten penalty points means automatic disqualification from the next race.
Penalty points will be wiped clean at the end of the season, giving all riders the opportunity to start 2014 with a completely clean slate.
Top 10 Current GP Penalty Point Totals by Rider:
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Source: MotoGP; Photo: © 2013 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.