There will no changes to the format of qualifying for the Moto2 and Moto3 classes when the 2018 season begins in Qatar next weekend.

Instead, Race Direction will continue to impose the harsh range of penalties following the 'final warning' meeting at Motegi, for any competitors riding deliberately slowly in search of a tow.

Meanwhile the 'nuclear option' of a change in the qualifying system remains on the table, as a last resort.

"We've decided to continue with what happened from Motegi onwards, which is a big increase in penalties. We are very reluctant to change the qualifying format and I've always said we'll leave that as a last resort," explained MotoGP Race Director Mike Webb.

"So we are going to try another season with the increased penalties, as well as more regular rider briefings to remind them of what is going on. The alternative is the nuclear option, which is we find another way to allocate grid places.

"We don't want to do that. The FIM's not particularly keen on that. But if we have to, we have to. I've kept threatening them with it because there will be a limit [to what else we can do], but for now we'll continue with the penalties."

The New Zealander added that the early rounds normally pass with fewer problems.

"Typically, from what we've seen in the past two or three years, we find the behaviour is very good for the first five or six races of the season," he said.

"Then - partly because of the nature of the tracks and partly because they forget - by the time we get to Mugello and Catalunya the problem raises its head again.

"So we'll keep reminding them leading up to those events and, as I say, try to avoid changing the format of qualifying."

As well as Mugello and Catalunya, Webb said that "5 or 6" rounds, plus potentially the new Buriram track, are usually most troublesome for slow riding in search of a tow.

The format of MotoGP qualifying, where the top ten riders on combined free practice times are given direct access to Qualifying 2, will also remain unchanged for 2018.

Some riders had suggested that only FP3 should be used to decide the top ten.

 

 

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