Penalty Bonanza For Loitering On Racing Line Shakes Up Moto3 Grid

Despite strict instructions being issued to the Moto3 riders after Aragon, warning them of severe sanctions should they be found waiting on the racing line, the problem reared its ugly head again in qualifying at Motegi. As a result, Race Direction felt compelled to act, imposing severe penalties on four riders in Moto3. Four riders were penalized for going slowly, officially for riding slower than 110% of their fastest times through three sectors on one lap.

Race Direction's punishments were particularly painful this weekend. Two of the men on the front row, Miguel Oliveira in 2nd and Jorge Navarro who qualified 3rd, received penalties which moved them back three places on the grid, taking from the first to the second row. Jakub Kornfeil was also punished for the same offence, dropping from 8th to 11th, while Alexis Masbou was bumped from 19th to 22nd on the grid. 

The penalties for Oliveira and Navarro have had a big impact on the starting order. With both men bumped off the front row, Niccolo Antonelli and Enea Bastianini move up onto the front row, Antonelli in 2nd, Bastianini in 3rd. Danny Kent also benefits, but only moves from 6th to 4th, not gaining an extra starting row in the process.

The revised Moto3 grid is shown below. This supersedes the order the riders finished in qualifying.

Pos No Rider Bike Time Pos before penalty
1 5 Romano Fenati KTM 1'56.484  
2 23 Niccolò Antonelli Honda 1'56.887 4
3 33 Enea Bastianini Honda 1'56.927 5
4 52 Danny Kent Honda 1'56.998 6
5 44 Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'56.657 2
6 9 Jorge Navarro Honda 1'56.720 3
7 32 Isaac Viñales KTM 1'57.017  
8 11 Livio Loi Honda 1'57.092 9
9 41 Brad Binder KTM 1'57.147 10
10 21 Francesco Bagnaia Mahindra 1'57.191 11
11 84 Jakub Kornfeil KTM 1'57.089 8
12 76 Hiroki Ono Honda 1'57.192  
13 65 Philipp Oettl KTM 1'57.288  
14 58 Juanfran Guevara Mahindra 1'57.525  
15 63 Zulfahmi Khairuddin KTM 1'57.585  
16 48 Lorenzo Dalla Porta Husqvarna 1'57.635  
17 16 Andrea Migno KTM 1'57.659  
18 96 Manuel Pagliani Mahindra 1'57.687  
19 98 Karel Hanika KTM 1'57.715 20
20 24 Tatsuki Suzuki Mahindra 1'57.732 21
21 29 Stefano Manzi Mahindra 1'57.772 22
22 10 Alexis Masbou Honda 1'57.694 19
23 88 Jorge Martin Mahindra 1'57.812  
24 17 John Mcphee Honda 1'57.968  
25 91 Gabriel Rodrigo KTM 1'57.990  
26 6 Maria Herrera Husqvarna 1'57.993  
27 7 Efren Vazquez Honda 1'58.002  
28 95 Jules Danilo Honda 1'58.039  
29 20 Fabio Quartararo Honda 1'58.153  
30 2 Remy Gardner Mahindra 1'58.388  
31 40 Darryn Binder Mahindra 1'58.603  
32 19 Alessandro Tonucci Mahindra 1'58.965  
33 34 Ryo Mizuno Honda 1'59.282  
34 22 Ana Carrasco KTM 1'59.308  
35 55 Andrea Locatelli Honda 1'59.889  
36 27 Keisuke Kurihara Honda 2'00.389  


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"riding slower than 110% of their fastest times through three sectors on one lap" ... could there be an error in this sentence, because it doesn't make sense to me, logically or mathematically. Mind you, it wouldn't be the first time some rule seemed odd to me :)

It is confusing. I'll try to simplify.

First, they take the fastest lap of each rider. They look at the sector times for that lap (each lap is split into four sectors). 

If they think a rider was loitering, waiting for a tow, they look at their lap times for those laps. If that rider is going too slow for three sectors of a four-sector lap, they are penalized.

Too slow is defined as 110% of that rider's best lap through that sector. So, for example, at a theoretical track which consists of four equal sectors, if a rider's best lap is 2'00, and he is taking 30 seconds for each sector, if a rider takes 33 seconds (110% of 30 seconds) in each of three sectors on the same lap, Race Direction can accuse them of loitering, and punish them for it.

So their lap time may look like this:

  S1 S2 S3 S4 Total time
Fastest lap 0'30 0'30 0'30 0'30 2'00
Loitering lap 0'33 0'34 0'33 0'30 2'10

That would be sufficient cause for punishment.

Well, I would still propose this would be better worded as "being 10% slower than their fastest time through three sectors"or similar, because I was told in school there is no such thing as 110%.