FIM Clarifies "Rookie Rule" - Less Than 9 Races Make A Rookie

Words are tricky things. Immediately after the announcement of the so-called rookie rule, debate immediately broke out over the meaning of the words "rookie" and "factory team." The response of Dorna and the FIM has been a little too akin to that of Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll's Through The Looking Glass, insisting that when they use a word, it means exactly what they choose it to mean, neither more nor less.

Of course, this was not going to be a tenable situation for long. Speculation was rife in the press that factory teams could consider signing promising young stars such as Marco Simoncelli, Alvaro Bautista or Ben Spies for the last few races once they'd secured (or failed to secure) their current championships, then claim that because they'd been under contract in 2009, they should no longer be regarded as "rookies" and could go straight to factory teams for 2010.

So MotoGP's rule-making body, the Grand Prix Commission, has acted to prevent this and issued a definition of the term "rookie." The definition basically means that any rider who hasn't taken part in 9 races in the previous season must be considered a rookie, and will therefore not be eligible to race for a factory team. The definition is clearly designed to preempt any attempt at getting around the ban on rookies, as riders will basically have to compete for half a season before they are no longer rookies.

The definition issued by the FIM follows below:

Definition of a "contracted rider" and a "Rookie" rider.

A contracted rider is a rider who has participated in nine or more events during one season.

A "Rookie" is a rider nominated by a participating team for participation in the entire season, who has not been a contracted rider as defined above in the same class in any previous season.

For the purpose of this clause, the 500cc class and the MotoGP class are considered to be the same, as are the 250cc class and the Moto2 class. 

The press release containing the rule changes, as well as other alterations to the rules limiting engine life, can be found on the FIM website (PDF format).

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