2016 Qatar Moto2 Race Result: Omnishambles

20 laps in Qatar with unusual circumstances that would have a drastic effect on the podium.

As the lights went out, possibly more than once, several riders visibly twitched on the grid, bringing the new jump start rules to the fore. Jonas Folger got to the first turn first and set about breaking away from Taka Nakagami, Sam Lowes and Thomas Luthi. Lowes and Luthi got past Nakagami and at the end of the first lap, Folger had over a second of a lead from the fight behind him and the jump start notices started coming in.

Sam Lowes, Alex Rins, Johann Zarco and Marcel Schrotter all got issued ride through penalties for jumping the start, while Franco Morbidelli avoided one in spite of lurching just as obviously as other riders. His team were working on the assumption that he would get a penalty, but instead, he settled into third place directly behind Luthi who was over a second and a half behind Folger.

On the third lap, Morbidelli's luck doubled down and Jonas Folger lost adhesion and crashed out unharmed but unable to get back into the race. A lap later, the riders with penalties took their long slow ride through the pits and rejoined out of the points.

Morbidelli and Luthi swapped places a few times, breaking away with a two second gap to third place, a battle between Sandro Cortese and Simone Corsi, and the race settled down.

The jump start rules this year have reverted to the old rules only with the new technology. If you move and don't gain an advantage, you do not get a penalty, unlike last year when the slightest twitch would get you penalised. To add to the controversy, Alex Marquez, having crashed out, made the comment in an interview that he saw the lights flicker at the start, which would explain why so many riders prematurely lurched at the start.

On lap twelve, Morbidelli took the lead from Luthi but the Swiss rider showed no intention to take the lead back over the next few laps, with a five second cushion to Corsi and Cortese behind the leading pair. Five laps from the end, a second clanger was dropped and Morbidelli and Cortese were placed under investigation for jump starts, with the pair getting handed 20-second penalties as Luthi's team tried to work out how to convey this information to their rider.

Luthi apparently didn't get the message and, as the last lap started, he blasted past Morbidelli, finally making use of the slipstream move he'd been saving up, and he led into turn one. Behind them, Luis Salom had bridged the gap, having passed both Danny Kent and Hafizh Syahrin, and he joined in the Cortese and Corsi fight.

Thomas Luthi rode the last lap without giving up an inch and sailed to a hard-earned victory that would have been his even if Franco Morbidelli's last ditch efforts had worked. Luis Salom took third place on the track from Simone Corsi, but the pair filled the podium with Folger as the penalties were calculated.

Needless to say this story is developing and we haven't heard the last of it, but the results are in and places have been settled. 

Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 12 Thomas LUTHI Kalex 40'14.293
2 39 Luis SALOM Kalex +9.610
3 24 Simone CORSI Speed Up +9.665
4 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN Kalex +13.558
5 77 Dominique AEGERTER Kalex +16.064
6 52 Danny KENT Kalex +16.114
7 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Kalex +20.047
8 40 Alex RINS Kalex +20.170
9 22 Sam LOWES Kalex +22.019
10 10 Luca MARINI Kalex +24.249
11 44 Miguel OLIVEIRA Kalex +24.254
12 5 Johann ZARCO Kalex +24.570
13 14 Ratthapark WILAIROT Kalex +25.664
14 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Kalex +26.992
15 11 Sandro CORTESE Kalex +29.736
16 54 Mattia PASINI Kalex +30.404
17 23 Marcel SCHROTTER Kalex +38.446
18 2 Jesko RAFFIN Kalex +46.363
19 32 Isaac VIÑALES Tech 3 +46.543
20 70 Robin MULHAUSER Kalex +1'18.323
21 33 Alessandro TONUCCI Kalex +1'25.002
22 8 Efren VAZQUEZ Suter +1'39.572
    Not Classified    
  49 Axel PONS Kalex 4 Laps
  97 Xavi VIERGE Tech 3 5 Laps
  19 Xavier SIMEON Speed Up 6 Laps
  73 Alex MARQUEZ Kalex 14 Laps
  94 Jonas FOLGER Kalex 18 Laps
  60 Julian SIMON Speed Up 19 Laps
  57 Edgar PONS Kalex 19 Laps

 

Round Number: 
1
2016
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Comments

I wonder where Lowes and Rins got an advantage from that start?
Meanwhile Morbidelli passes everyone on the result list that had to do a ride though.
Just don't seem quite right to me. But most of all it feels like the race direction are sleeping and not doing their job at all. Who could avoid seeing Morbidelli jumping the start as THE one actually gaining big.
Wouldnt a cancel of the start be the right thing to do in a situation like this?

They also made Morbidelli believe he was fighting for the top spot, when he wasn't.

In that situation there is always a bigger risk of an incident, luckily it didn't happen.

We had seen two different punishments for essentially the same crime, which is not okay.

I wonder about the lights, did they or didn't they flicker in the end?

Alex Marquaz & Sam Lowes said the lights flickered. I only saw the replay once and it didnt look like they flickered to me, but they were on for quite a while.
What a disaster, why did it take so long to make a decision on Morbi & Cortese? The better thing to do would have been to bring them in for a ride-through, even if there were only 2 or 3 laps left. Would have been fairer (On Lowes, Zarco, Rins et al) than adding on time. When the graphic flashed up saying they were both being investigated for a jump start, surely race direction had their mind made up by then? They applied the penalty intermediately after the chequered flag after all

Even if the lights did flicker, that could easily have been missed by the cameras for all manner of technical reasons. Eyes are much better at seeing that sort of thing.

Even if the lights did flicker, that could easily have been missed by the cameras for all manner of technical reasons. Eyes are much better at seeing that sort of thing.

It wasn't only Morbidelli who gained. Cortese looked like he gained a load.
As you say, the advantage "Gained" by Rins, Lowes and Zarco was between nil and minimal. I've watched and rewatched that start and find it incomprehensible that Morbidelli's and Cortese's jumps were missed, yet the others were caught. It the took them another 15 laps to realise that Morbidelli and Cortese had got the jump? By which stage they couldn't impose a ride through, so the worst offenders were not only treated differently, but more leniently than those that arguably gained nothing!
As for the flicker, as I said, I've looked at it and looked at it again but haven't seen anything. That doesn't necessarily mean anything because of the vagaries of TV cameras, EV and all sorts of technicalities that few outside image sensing would be able to do justice to.
I just have one question about all this; Isn't there anybody assigned to checking video footage when there is a hint of a false start? My personal suspicion is that Morbidelli and Cortese had gone so far over the line when the lights changed that the transponder signal didn't read a jump start. However, if you have video confirmation of a jump start, why should it take 15 laps for the jump to be investigated, when the penalty applicable will be imposed so late that the penalty imposed can no longer be the same as the others?
As for Lowes, Rins and Zarco gaining an advantage, I still don't see it. Lowes lost 3 places at the start after all.
Insanity.
BTW, I do appreciate the hard work that goes into the workings of a GP, but tonight just made me shake my head.

It's all about the rules, which say that you cannot move until the lights go out. Even if you move but don't cross the line before the lights go out, you still make a jump start, you break the rules and you should be punished for the crime.

The biggest problem I see in the fiasco tonight was that different punishments were dealt for the same crime. I kept on wondering why they didn't pull Morbidelli back in for 15 laps because he was the first obvious jump starter.

20 seconds is also not the same as going through the pit, even if the ride through takes 20 seconds exactly, those people don't have to pass all the slower riders, holding them up extra time putting them in lower ranks eventually.
The other thing is that Luthi had to take additional risks. If you watch the last round, there was a serious risk for him losing it on several occasions, just to try and beat someone who was not contending for the podium. What would have happened if Morbidelli pushed Luthi into a mistake? I can only say kuddos to Luthi for keeping it on the track and even winning without the advantage that Morbidelli gained, very fortunate that all ended well for him.

As for the flicker of the lights, I thought I saw it in the first replay but after that I was just trying to see which bikes all jumped the start, there were too many to keep focus on the lights. Definitely something race direction should look into. I'd rather see a race red flagged and go for a restart than seeing a fiasco like tonight again.

That's last year's jump start rules. This year, you can move slightly as long as you don't gain an advantage. 

One of the changes I must have missed. I think it's a bit unfair because jumping the start without an advantage can trigger a reaction with other riders, but I supposed the rules are the rules.
They seem to make more grey matter to confuse everybody and have inconsistent judging for different riders :(
Can't say I like it very much.

I agree with you on the 20 sec penalty not being the same as going through the pits.

I looked at the times of the penalized riders and with the exception of Rins, everyone went more than 20 seconds slower on their pit lane lap. Excluding the extremed of Rins' 2:19.997 and Mulhauser's 2:24.090, the average pit lane lap was 2:22.862. In comparison, most of the riders hovered slightly above the 2 minute mark for their other laps except for Lowes, who had slightly more 1:59-laps than 2+-laps.

In addition to this, the lap following the pit lane-lap, all of the penalized riders were at least 3 seconds slower than their normal laps.

So, Morbidelli and Cortese got a much milder punishment of only 20 seconds added as opposed to the closer to 25 seconds of those going through pit lane while also having the benefit of not needing to battle their way forward through slower riders.

well..... what a shame. Why introduce new rules if they are not going to be adhered to. Lowes definitely didn't get an advantage so shouldn't have been penalised. Others did and should.
That RD could miss two obvious jump starts is bloody beyond me.... sometimes sitting on the couch on really wonder whether they have the same feed I do. There are so many things I see on the screen, that commentators and RD seem to miss.......

Commentators have a really tough job much of the time. FWIU, they are often stuck away in some cubicle and may have no direct view of the track. They also have may have far more data to sift through whilst still keeping eyes on the action and continuing to make sense of, and comment on, what is happening on screen.
The best commentators do a brilliant job and do very well to avoid the more obvious problem of personal/national bias and contribute hugely to our enjoyment of the sport.
However, there are some, mostly but not exclusively those that are not dedicated m/c commentators, who seem to be incapable of any of the above. The Spanish RTVE commentators were a very mixed bunch. Angel Nieto and Dennis Noyes have my utmost respect. They are not only vastly knowledgeable about their subject but they have a true ability to bring that knowledge to bear while commentating. Some of the "talent" that worked alongside them were much closer to an embarrassment. One of the girls was just cringeworthy while another was better in many respects than her erstwhile colleagues. As for some of the subjective BS that was aired, well, I try to forget them they were so bad.
And if you think that some racing commentary is bad, I'd suggest that you watch the Spanish Eurosport commentary on Snooker! I'll think you'll soon realise that we are well served by our racing commentators.

I didn't finish my post!
As for race direction; I believe that they have all footage available to them, so I find that their failure to get even close to a just response yesterday is far, far less pardonable. One might expect them to have recognised that there had been a jump start or two and then reviewed the video evidence to assess those starts in light of the newly revised rules. checking each riders status at the precise time that the lights changed. They have all the camera feeds at their disposal yet it seems to have taken them about 20 minutes to take a look at any of them! If that is the case, how in F**k could they have come to the conclusion that Lowes, Rins and Zarco gained an advantage while missing Morbidelli and Cortese? I didn't spot Lowes' jump first time around, it was so minor, but Morbidelli and Corteses must have had their entire bikes close to half way over the line before the lights went out. You can see my screen shots of the relevant action here
http://www.motorsport.com/moto2/news/qatar-moto2-luthi-grabs-win-amid-ju...
I see no evidence at all that Lowes gained any advantage. Even the commentator said that it looked like the front row (except Folger) had been caught sleeping, Cortese's advantage is clear.