MotoGP Argentina Race Shortened To 20 Laps, Compulsory Pit Stops

Race Direction have once again revised the procedure for the MotoGP race in Argentina. The race has now been shortened to 20 laps, with a compulsory pit stop between laps 9 and 11. The official statement is below:

New Statement from Race Direction, Argentina

The race distance is changed to 20 laps.


Riders must change bikes at the end of their 9th. 10th. or 11th. Lap.

If rain starts and Race Direction consider the situation to be dangerous the red flag will be shown and all riders should enter pit lane.

Teams will be given 15 minutes between the display of the red flag and opening of pit lane to make adjustments to the machines.

The second part of the race will be for 10 laps. Grid positions will be based on the result of the first part and will be declared a wet race.


Riders may enter the pits to change machines only from the end of their 9th. lap.

If the wet race is red flagged for other reasons when more than 13 laps have been completed then the result will stand and there will be no restart.

Race Direction


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So I read on that Pol Espargaro has voiced an opinion that other riders aledgedly share: This mandatory flag-to-flag arrangement is more for the sake of Ducati than for safety.

His reasoning goes like this: only Ducati, with its ultra high-power bike, has had trouble with the rear tires. Rather than making the entire grid go through this bike swap, Ducati should dial back its engine.

I'm guessing that's easier said than done, but he has a point. All manufacturers have to tune their bikes to the available tires. If Ducati have over-cooked it, should they turn the heat down a little bit?

First, even if all the riders shared Espargo's opinion, that in itself doesn't make it true. My two cents' worth is that Race Direction's worries were mainly about lawsuits had something awful happened. Rider safety was probably in there somewhere, too.

Second, all the bikes except the Yamahas were spinning the rear tire through various corners.

Third, it's up to tire manufacturers to address tire problems, not race-bike tuners. That's how we progress, by addressing problems, not working around them forever.

The tire drama did nothing to detract from our viewing enjoyment this weekend. On the contrary, it made things unexpectedy more interesting.

I disagree that it's up the the tyre manufacturer to produce a tyre that can last the race no matter what the punishment. 

In Moto3, Loi went out on a wet tyre which obviously wasn't up to the task and he dropped like a stone when the track dried.  No one black flagged him for riding on an obviously inappropriate tyre, and he didn't crash and die - he just had to ride slower.

I think it should be up to the teams and riders to manage their tyre to make it last the whole race.  The only thing I would suggest is that they should have the *option* to come in and change bikes or tyres.  If they think that blasting through a tyre and eeking out a lead, only to waste time coming through pit lane, is a good strategy then they can go for it; otherwise they could tune down the power or adjust the bike setup.  If neither of those options allows them to be in contention for the win then maybe their bike isn't up to the standard of the rest of the field.

It's a controlled tyre series, everyone is given the same tyres.