FIM To Examine Yellow Flag Procedures After Phillip Island Incident

As a result of the yellow flag controversy at Phillip Island, the FIM has announced it will be reviewing procedures for dealing with yellow flags during the race (PDF file). This will include investigating the use of "new technology" to respond to incidents.

At the heart of the affair is Valentino Rossi's pass of Casey Stoner while a yellow flag was being waved during the Phillip Island race. Carlos Checa had run off the track, and parked his bike at trackside. The yellow flag was still being waved on the inside of the right hander, as Valentino Rossi passed Casey Stoner round the outside of the previous left hander. Coming out of the right hander (where the yellow flag was being waved), Stoner then just pressed his wheel level with, or possibly just ahead of, Rossi, before Rossi finally made the pass stick. The race directors did not see the incident, and after the race, both Rossi and Stoner denied seeing the yellow flag. Nicky Hayden, however, did, and hesitated for a while, waiting for the race directors to take action against Rossi before continuing to chase the reigning world champion down. Rossi finished the race two spots ahead of Hayden, gaining valuable points on Hayden in his chase to retain his world crown.

After the race, the race stewards apologized to Hayden for not seeing the incident, which was difficult to see on the live TV coverage, which the race directors use to monitor the race for infractions. Honda later wrote an official letter of compaint to the FIM, and the incident has spawned some pretty vitriolic coverage in the US press.

The statement issued by the FIM is show below:

The Grand Prix Commission composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Claude Danis (FIM), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA), in the presence of Mr Paul Butler (Secretary), in an extraordinary meeting held yesterday at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, unanimously decided to issue the following statement:

Following full and frank discussions by all the parties involved in the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (FIM, MSMA, IRTA, Dorna) addressing the issues arising from the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island which took place on September 17th, 2006, it was the consensus of all the parties to closely examine the regulations and procedures in order to avoid in future the incorrect application of the rules forbidding passing under yellow flags.
Immediate action includes a letter sent by the Race Direction to the Australian organisation pointing out the failings of their officials that caused the controversy.
In addition an in-depth study will be made of new technology to facilitate a more immediate response to incidents around a circuit.

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