Valentino Rossi has been given three penalty points for the “Sepang Clash” with Marc Marquez during the MotoGP race at Sepang. The pair tussled after Jorge Lorenzo passed Marquez for second place early in the race, but Marquez put up a much stiffer battle against Rossi.
The pair swapped places starting on lap three, the battle getting tougher as the race went on. Marquez did everything in his power to stay ahead of Rossi and slow him up – well outside the spirit of the rules, but still inside the letter of the rules – treating the spectators to fifteen passes in just a couple of laps, culminating in nine passes in just a single lap.
Rossi grew increasingly frustrated, and in his frustration, tried to push Marquez out wide, slowing all the time. As Marquez turned in, the two made contact, and Marquez crashed.
After the race, Race Direction held a meeting with both Rossi and Marquez, which lasted nearly an hour. Video of the incident was reviewed and shown to the riders, and they were asked for their side of the story.
After reviewing the evidence, Race Direction concluded that Rossi had deliberately pushed Marquez wide, and that this action had caused the contact, and therefore caused Marquez to crash.
Because of the severity of the incident, Rossi was awarded three penalty points. As he already had one penalty point from Misano, for riding slowly on the racing line during qualifying, his total is now four, and he will have to start the final race of the season at Valencia from the back of the grid.
For a full explanation of the decision by Race Direction, see the interview with Mike Webb on the Crash.net website.
Rossi’s race result – the Italian finished in third place, behind Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo – will stand, leaving him just seven points ahead in the title chase.
Below is the official sanction from Race Direction:
FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix – Decision of the Race Direction
On 25th October 2015 during the MotoGP race of the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, rider #46 Valentino Rossi deliberately ran wide on Turn 14 in order to force another rider off line, resulting in contact causing the other rider to crash.
This is considered to be irresponsible riding causing danger to other competitors and is therefore an infringement of Article 1.21.2 of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations.
Valentino Rossi was requested to attend a Race Direction hearing. Both riders involved were present at the hearing, both gave testimony, and video evidence was reviewed.
The decision of the Race Direction is to impose on rider #46 the addition of 3 penalty points on your record, according to Article 3.2.1. of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Disciplinary and Arbitration Code.
Valentino Rossi lodged an appeal with the FIM Stewards against the decision of the Race Direction. He was requested to attend another hearing with the FIM Stewards.
The FIM Stewards unanimously confirmed the Penalty Imposed by the Race Direction.
According to Art. 126.96.36.199 of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations no further appeal may be lodged when FIM Stewards confirm the previous decision of the Race Direction.
Since the rider already had 1 previous penalty point, the sanction for accumulating 4 penalty points is to start the next race from the back of the grid. Thus Valentino Rossi will start the Gran Premio MOTUL de la Communicat Valenciana from the last position of the grid.
Source: MotoGP; Photo: © 2015 Tony Goldsmith / www.tonygoldsmith.net – All Rights Reserved
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.