On Saturday at the Austrian Grand Prix, 24 riders from the Moto3 class were penalised for riding 'at an extreme slow speed, not consistent with track conditions' in their first sector after leaving the pits.

The punishment was a follow-up to the 18 riders penalised for the same offence at the Sachsenring, just before the summer break.

The German Grand Prix marked the first time the MotoGP Stewards Panel had directed its attention to the first sector after leaving the pits, following a long battle to eradicate slow-moving riders from sector two onwards.

That offence is normally defined as "riding slowly in more than 3 sectors, in excess of the 110% limit of your fastest sectors".

It took until the punishment was raised to a 12-place grid penalty for the behaviour to be largely stamped out. But Race Director Mike Webb admits the problem of deliberately riding slowly - usually while looking for a tow - simply shifted to pit exit, where the 110% limit doesn't apply.

"I have to say the 12-place grid penalty must be working. We have very, very few of those for slow sectors during practice now. There were none here [in Austria]," Webb said. "But what they have been doing is gaming the system.

"Under my old protocol, the first sector didn't count because it's not fair to have to go flat-out in your first sector. But what happened is: 'Even if it's for no advantage whatsoever, I'm going to go slow just because I can'."

Webb was prepared to tolerate such behaviour until it reached farcical levels at the Sachsenring. 

"The Sachsenring situation was just stupidity; riders at walking pace in the first sector for no reason," he said. "So I determined that - even if it's a first sector - you are getting a penalty for riding ridiculously slowly, not consistent with track conditions and therefore causing a danger."

But when so many riders are guilty, the usual grid penalties have little effect.

"We can't put 24 people at the back of the grid because it's not going to change much. Therefore they got a relatively heavy fine for the first time and I would double it if they did it again.

"I've done that here [in Austria]: The first timers got 500 euros and the second timers got 1,000.

"I haven’t decided if I'll just continue to double the fine if they keep doing it, or if I'll come up with something like a time penalty, championship points, starting from pit lane… Maybe I'll surprise them.

"I'd like the team to feel it as well as the riders and part of the idea of a 1,000 euro fine was that the team will end up paying it. I have to say, the majority response from team managers - who are signing those penalty documents - is 'good on you, you need to do this'.

"We'll find a way. With multiple riders [breaking the rules], it also becomes a case of trying to reward the riders who are behaving well. For now, I've followed what I said I would do at the Sachsenring and maybe I'll dream up something else for the next time.

"We know we have to stop it. It's ridiculous."


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Sounds like they don't know what to do. 

You're right, It does seem like they are fishing around for ideas instead of getting tough. I would go with either a direct pit lane start or something like an auto 5 sec time penalty in the race. The punishment has to be so severe it's not in the riders interests to worry about a tow. I don't think anybody wants to end up with a superpole format.

Either a 5 second penalty to be applied after the race or a 5-second delayed start. I prefer the delayed start because they would need to fight their way through the riders who did not dawdle during practice. 

That's a great way to cause endless crashes. How do you intend to delay a rider starting for 5 seconds? It takes longer than that for the back of the grid to pass the start line and if there are stationary bikes on the grid, they are a huge danger.

The financial way is the best. Fine doubled with each subsequent infraction with no reset between sessions. By the time they get to QP the thought of a 16000€ fine or more would concentrate the attention.

If you're getting a delayed start you're also starting at the back of the grid along with the rest of the delayed start folks. I'd say 5 seconds for one offense, and 10 seconds for two offenses. If the teams are paying there's no pain for the rider. It has to be visible that the RIDER is the one being penalized.

Liking the idea of a delayed start...

At the end of the day if something doesn't happen soon there's likely to be an accident which no-one wants to see.

With some of the more persistant offenders I just want to shout at the screen sometimes "if you spent more time riding & less time d1*king about you might be able to set a decent lap time anyway!"

After initially thinking it might be a good iddea, the delayed start will probably end up being about as effective as the 12 place grid penalty, if everyone does it, nobody is penalized.

I assume the delayed start would come into effect after all the offending riders have been demoted to the back of the grid? Not a bad idea.

Another simple thing they could add is the rider cannot set their fastest lap after they have committed the infringment. Their best time will be taken from before the infringment occurred. If the rider knows there's no point dawdling because any lap time they set afterwards won't count, it might help stamp this sh*t out (probably not though!).

i support your idea - and add to it to make it complete.

a lap time cancelation and a ride through (or even 5 sec mandatory pit stop) - that will break the tow for the session so the rider in front does not hae to worry about towing the others 


thinking about this again - i think its still not solving the issue.

if everyone obay the rules (or everyone not) - on some tracks where towing is so critical in moto3, its still not fair for the towing bike. and they will just not leave pit until someone else does. so the solution might be a "pace bike" to do one lap at the front to pull the rest