Valentino Rossi has filed an appeal against his Sepang penalty to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in an attempt to get his last place start for the Valencia title decider overturned - or, just as significantly, delayed.
With the initial appeal by Rossi's Yamaha team against the decision of Race Direction rejected by the FIM Stewards', the CAS move is the last remaining option for Rossi.
The Italian was handed three penalty points for triggering a clash with bitter rival Marc Marquez at Sepang. Four points are needed for a back of the grid start, but Rossi already had one penalty point for impeding title rival Jorge Lorenzo in qualifying at Misano.
Rossi heads into next weekend's Valencia decider with a seven point advantage over team-mate Lorenzo, but faces a difficult task to claim a tenth title if he starts from last on the grid.
But while Rossi is seeking "the annulment of the penalty, or at least a reduction from 3 points to 1" he only needs to delay the existing penalty to avoid starting last at Valencia.
As such, Rossi has also filed an "urgent application" for a "stay of execution of the decision". In other words, Rossi wants the three penalty points to be suspended while the CAS reaches its verdict. CAS expects to decide on whether this suspension will be granted by November 6, the date of Friday practice at Valencia.
Since Rossi's punishment involves penalty points rather than championship points, any decisions made by the CAS after the Valencia race are unlikely to have an impact on the 2015 title outcome.
For example if, after the season finale, the CAS upholds the three penalty points during its full judgement, Rossi would simply serve his last place start at the 2016 Qatar season opener (or whichever race followed the judgement).
“On the basis of Article 3.4.2, para 3 of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations, Mr Valentino Rossi has filed an Appeal against the decision taken by the Race Direction of the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang, penultimate round of the FIM MotoGP Grand Prix World Championship, and confirmed by the FIM Stewards, to award 3 penalty points to Mr Rossi following an incident on Turn 14," read an FIM statement.
“In appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), Mr Rossi seeks annulment or reduction of the penalty. He further requests stay of execution of the decision in accordance with Article R37 of the Code of Sports-Related Arbitration.
“The FIM will not comment any further at this time.”
In explaining its decision to punish Rossi, Race Direction stated at Sepang: "On 25th October 2015 during the MotoGP race of the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, you 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.
"For the above motive, Race Direction has decided to impose on you the addition of 3 penalty points on your record."
Rossi has admitted forcing Marquez wide at Turn 14, saying he was being deliberately held up by the Spaniard during their no-holds-barred series of overtakes from lap 4 until the contact on lap 7.
That claim was rejected by Marquez, but taken into account as 'provocation' for Rossi's actions by Race Direction.
The Italian denied that he wanted the Honda rider to crash or that he had kicked out at the Spaniard, causing him to fall. Race Direction found the TV footage of Rossi's leg movement inconclusive and it was not part of his punishment.
The sanction of three penalty points was decided upon due to the precedent of Karel Hanika receiving five penalty points for a collision with Juanfran Guevara at Jerez.
“Hanika was a blatant 'Yes, I tried to hit the other rider, I wanted to hurt him'. This case was 'I did it by mistake' but the end result was still a crash," explained Race Director Mike Webb.
"It's my opinion on the way [Marquez] was riding, the lap time, my perception is that as many riders do he was trying to change the race. But I was very clear with him that he didn't break a rule. So Marquez has not been penalised.
"However we took into account when making the penalty on Rossi, that he certainly had some provocation. But, as I said to him, it doesn't matter what the provocation is. You can't react in a way that causes a rider to crash."
Rossi had accused Marquez of trying to help Lorenzo at the previous Phillip Island round, setting the scene for the Sepang showdown.
UPDATE: The CAS press release can be seen below:
"Italian MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi has filed an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the FIM Stewards' decision to impose 3 penalty points on his record following an incident with another rider during the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix race held on 25 October 2015.
"The FIM Race Direction found that Mr Rossi deliberately ran wide in order to force the other rider off line, resulting in contact causing the other rider to crash out of the race. For this breach of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations (the FIM Regulations), the FIM Race Direction imposed 3 penalty points on the rider's record.
"Mr Rossi immediately appealed such decision to the FIM Stewards who dismissed the appeal and confirmed the penalty imposed by the FIM Race Direction. Since Valentino Rossi already has 1 penalty point from an earlier incident, this decision brings him to a total of 4 penalty points. On the basis of the FIM Regulations, a rider with 4 penalty points must start the next race from last grid position.
"In his appeal to the CAS, Mr Rossi seeks the annulment of the penalty, or at least a reduction from 3 points to 1. Together with his appeal, Mr Rossi has filed an urgent application to stay the execution of the challenged decision in order not to lose his place on the starting grid at the next, and last, event of the season which will be held in Valencia/Spain on 6-8 November 2015.
"An arbitration procedure is in progress. A decision on Mr Rossi's request for a stay is expected to be issued no later than 6 November 2015."
The CAS is an independent organisation which settles disputes in sport. It is in no way connected to the FIM (or Dorna) and is granted "exclusive authority to impose a definitive settlement" by the MotoGP rules.