For all the good that accompanied Marc Marquez’s arrival in the premier class, there was one casualty that we should consider reviving: The Rookie Rule.
A brief recap if you don’t recall the details: In 2010 the Grand Prix Commission approved a rule stating that no riders entering the premier class for the first time could ride for factory teams.
This was partly intended as a cost-saving measure and partly intended to placate satellite team owners who complained that without the rule, they would never have a chance to hire top rookie riders.
For several years The Rookie Rule worked nicely with one glaring exception, that of keeping Ben Spies out of the Factory Yamaha squad. Spies came to MotoGP as a multiple national series champion (AMA Superbike), as reigning WSBK champion, and most importantly, at 25-years-old.
Though he’d not ridden all of the GP tracks and didn’t know the Bridgestone tires, his experience with pressure and media attention made him the rookie perhaps most suited to going directly to a factory team. Cal Crutchlow could’ve also made a strong case based on his experience and maturity.
Jorge Lorenzo joined the Factory Yamaha team the year before the rule was adopted, but in my opinion became one of the best case studies to support the Rookie Rule.