One decision has come early in the hearing before Court of Arbitration for Sport on Valentino Rossi's appeal against his penalty at Sepang. Today, the CAS announced that it had rejected a request for intervention by lawyers representing Jorge Lorenzo. With that request rejected, the case will now be solely between Valentino Rossi and the FIM. The outcome of the preliminary hearing to suspend the penalty issued against Rossi will be made public by Friday, 6th November at the latest.
Lorenzo made a request to intervene in the proceedings under rule R41.3 of the CAS procedural rules. Lorenzo did so as a third party having a material interest in the outcome of Rossi's appeal, and more especially, his request for a stay of the penalty he had been given. Rossi appealed to the CAS in the hope of getting the three-point penalty imposed on him at Sepang suspended, so that he will not be forced to start from the back of the grid, and give him a better chance of defending his championshp lead. Lorenzo requested to intervene in that appeal as he has an interest in Rossi starting from the back of the grid, to give him the best chance of winning the championship at Valencia. The fierce battle the two men have fought out on track during the year has been extended into the courts.
The CAS' decision to reject the request for intervention may be good news for Rossi in the short term, but it does give a clearer indication of how the CAS intends to view the case. One possible reason for the CAS deciding to reject Lorenzo's request for intervention is that the CAS is viewing the penalty completely in isolation, and therefore free of the consequences it may have on the championship. It means they will view Rossi's case on the basis of how and whether Race Direction followed the correct procedure in assessing the penalty, and issued a penalty in line with earlier decisions. Whether this makes it more or less likely to take into account Rossi's interests at Valencia when considering his request to suspend the penalty at Valencia is up for question.
Though Lorenzo's involvement in Rossi's case was to be expected, it does not make the job of Yamaha management any easier. Tensions in the garage have already reached boiling point, and this is only going to make things worse. How both riders respond when the CAS issues judgment on Rossi's request for a stay will be very telling for their future together in the team.
Below is the press release issued by the CAS:
FIM MOTOGP CHAMPIONSHIP 2015
VALENTINO ROSSI APPEAL UPDATE
REQUEST FOR INTERVENTION BY JORGE LORENZO IS REJECTED
Lausanne, 3 November 2015 – Earlier today, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected a Request for Intervention filed by the Spanish MotoGP rider, Jorge Lorenzo.
On 2 November 2015, lawyers acting for Jorge Lorenzo filed a Request for Intervention in order to be able to participate on his behalf in the CAS arbitration between Valentino Rossi and the FIM. This afternoon, the CAS informed the parties that Mr Lorenzo’s request was denied. Accordingly, the CAS arbitration will continue between Valentino Rossi and the FIM only.
The decision on Mr Rossi’s request to stay the execution of the FIM Steward’s decision is still expected to be issued no later than 6 November 2015.