Dorna Considering MotoGP Long Lap Penalty in 2019

Michael Scott | February 25, 2019

Penalties for racing infringements are part of the contest. This is especially true in Moto3, where exceeding track limits is sometimes unavoidable and almost a policy for some riders. An innovation put to the test at Qatar is aimed at making them fairer in what is being called the MotoGP Long Lap.

MotoGP Long Lap Johann Zarco tests out
Johann Zarco (5) tries the MotoGP Long Lap line during testing at Qatar. Photography by

Specifically, the “lose one place” penalty can impose much more severe punishment on a rider who is some way ahead of the next than when he is in a close group.

The new idea is instead to impose a “long lap” on a miscreant. This costs a specific amount of time for all riders. Dorna created the MotoGP Long Lap loop at Qatar, around the outside of the gravel trap at turn six.

According to Dorna sporting director Carlo Ezpeleta, “The idea is to have the option of one more penalty. It’s one more tool for the FIM stewards because the drop-position penalty is hard to control. And might not be fair in some circumstances.”

Riders acted as guinea pigs and most considered the Long Lap a good idea. Although Rossi thought that more than the approximate three seconds the organizers thought it would add to the lap, “it was more like five seconds”.

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Michael Scott | MotoGP Editor Scott has been covering MotoGP since long before it was MotoGP. Remember two-strokes? Scott does. He’s also a best-selling author of biographies on the lives of legendary racers such as Wayne Rainey and Barry Sheene.