The decision of race direction to ban John Hopkins (pictured) and exclude Makoto Tamada for 'causing danger to other riders' at Motegi caused uproar within the MotoGP community, and - like it or not - set a trend for future racing incidents which is yet to be resolved.

Such harsh decisions could never simply be made and forgotten - they will now be the benchmark by which future events will be compared, and either way MotoGP loses:

If riders are 'let off' for similar incidents in the future it means the rules are being applied inconsistently, but if they're given the same punishment as Tamada/Hopkins it means motorcycle racing has now changed forever, with almost any contact now deemed dangerous and to be punished.

Race direction were given the ideal opportunity to show which of the above 'evils' it would be pursuing when Carlos Checa collided with his own team-mate Marco Melandri in Sepang qualifying, just six days later.

The MotoGP paddock, and fans worldwide, waited anxiously to see how the situation would be called, and when race direction did nothing - without offering any convincing explanation - it appeared the world of inconsistency lies ahead.

"I watched the Malaysian GP, and heard about Checa's problems there, without getting penalised, which made me pretty angry," admitted Hopkins.

Race director Paul Butler, when asked by Suzuki why Checa wasn't punished, appeared to backtrack slightly on the Motegi decision: "You can argue with the severity of the punishment for Hopkins" - which only adds to the feeling of inconsistency. If the people who make such decision aren't convinced, who will be?

But what about Tamada? He was excluded for clipping another rider, even though neither actually fell off, yet Checa took out Melandri in a 'non-racing' situation and didn't even receive a warning?

Race direction, it seems, has much bridge-building ahead if they are to regain confidence from the very riders they are designed to protect...



Loading Comments...