Valentino Rossi Appeals Sepang Penalty To CAS, Asks For Suspension Of Penalty At Valencia

Valentino Rossi has lodged an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the penalty imposed upon him at Sepang for his role in the incident between Marc Marquez and himself. Rossi has asked the CAS to issue a stay of the penalty, effectively suspending it until the full case can be heard before the court. A ruling on the stay is to be issued by 6th November.

The penalty was imposed on Rossi after he and Marquez collided on lap seven of the Sepang round of MotoGP, causing Marquez to crash. At the time, Race Direction ruled that Rossi was to blame for the crash, and imposed three penalty points on Rossi. That brought his points total to four, meaning that he must start at Valencia from the back of the grid, regardless of the position he obtains in qualifying. Rossi immediately appealed against the penalty to the FIM Stewards, who sit in judgment at every MotoGP round to rule on Race Direction penalties.

With the Race Stewards upholding the Race Direction penalty, Rossi could no longer take his appeal any further within the FIM. However, he did have the possibility to take the case to the CAS, which rules on conflicts between interested parties (usually athletes) and the international federations and governing bodies of sports. Rossi had five days to submit an appeal, deciding to go ahead with the appeal on final day.

Normally, the CAS takes between 6 and 12 months to handle cases, and because it takes so long, Rossi has appealed for a temporary suspension of the penalty, under section R37 of CAS' procedural rules. Under that rule, Rossi can claim that upholding the penalty will cause "irreparable harm" to his MotoGP career and season. Two other factors are also taken into account: firstly, the merits of the claim, and lastly, whether Rossi's interests are greater than those of Race Direction, who imposed the penalty upon him. Under CAS rules, they will have to consult with Race Direction before ruling on whether or not to suspend Rossi's penalty.

The goal of the request for a suspension of the penalty is simple. By having the three-point penalty suspended, Rossi will not have to start from the back of the grid, having collected just a single penalty point outside of Sepang this year. He would start from the position in which he qualifies. If Rossi should then lose the case when the full CAS hearing is held, then the penalty would be applied at the next race after the CAS rules. That would likely be at the earliest in the first part of the 2016 MotoGP season. Theoretically, if Rossi were to retire after his contract expires in 2016, and the CAS take 12 months or more to issue a ruling, Rossi may end up not being penalized at all.

If the request for suspension is denied, then the grid penalty will be applied at Valencia, and Rossi will start from the back of the grid. If he subsequently goes on to win the appeal at the CAS, the penalty points would be subtracted retrospectively. However, given the fact that Rossi would have had to start from the back of the grid, winning the appeal would be meaningless in terms of the 2015 season.

What is the likely outcome of the request for suspension? It is very hard to say. Rossi has a case when he says that being forced to start from the back of the grid would cause him irreparable harm. However, that was precisely the point of Race Direction imposing this penalty, a case they will make for not granting the suspension. That will be the basis of the decision on whether Rossi's interests outweigh Race Direction's, as the penalty was meant to provide a specific punishment. Whether the CAS will decide that Rossi's claim has any merits is not clear. As the original decision of Race Direction was upheld by the FIM Stewards, the balance appears to be against Rossi. The CAS will make a ruling before or on 6th November 2015, in time for qualifying at Valencia.

To simplify the situation, here is a timeline of what has happened, and what happens next:

  1. After the collision at Sepang, Race Direction imposed a penalty of three penalty points on Valentino Rossi.
  2. Those points brought Rossi's total to four, meaning he must start Valencia from the back of the grid.
  3. Rossi appealed against the decision by Race Direction to the FIM Stewards.
  4. The FIM Stewards upheld the decision by Race Direction, meaning that the three penalty points stand.
  5. Rossi has appealed that decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), who will take between 6 and 12 months to hear the case.
  6. Because the penalty will affect the outcome of the 2015 championship, Rossi has appealed for the penalty to be suspended until the CAS makes its final ruling.
    • If the CAS suspend the penalty, Rossi will start the Valencia race from the position in which he qualifies.
    • If the CAS refuse to suspend the penalty, Rossi will start the Valencia race from the back of the grid.
  7. The CAS will give a final ruling on the case once the hearings are finished, at some point 6 to 12 months in the future.
  8. No appeal is possible against the ruling of the CAS, unless at some point, the whole procedure is found to have breached Swiss law.

In a further twist, the CAS rules allow third parties to be involved in the case. Theoretically, that would allow Jorge Lorenzo, or even Marc Marquez to get involved in the case. As the current situation has already devolved into a PR disaster for Yamaha, having Lorenzo involved would only make things worse.

The official press release from the CAS appears below, and underneath that, the press release from the FIM:



Lausanne, 30 October 2015 – Italian MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi has filed an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the FIM Stewards’ decision to impose 3 penalty points on his record following an incident with another rider during the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix race held on 25 October 2015.

The FIM Race Direction found that Mr Rossi deliberately ran wide in order to force the other rider off line, resulting in contact causing the other rider to crash out of the race. For this breach of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations (the FIM Regulations), the FIM Race Direction imposed 3 penalty points on the rider’s record. Mr Rossi immediately appealed such decision to the FIM Stewards who dismissed the appeal and confirmed the penalty imposed by the FIM Race Direction. Since Valentino Rossi already has 1 penalty point from an earlier incident, this decision brings him to a total of 4 penalty points. On the basis of the FIM Regulations, a rider with 4 penalty points must start the next race from last grid position.

In his appeal to the CAS, Mr Rossi seeks the annulment of the penalty, or at least a reduction from 3 points to 1. Together with his appeal, Mr Rossi has filed an urgent application to stay the execution of the challenged decision in order not to lose his place on the starting grid at the next, and last, event of the season which will be held in Valencia/Spain on 6-8 November 2015.

An arbitration procedure is in progress. A decision on Mr Rossi’s request for a stay is expected to be issued no later than 6 November 2015.


Rider Valentino Rossi appeals FIM Stewards’ decision

On the basis of Article 3.4.2, para 3 of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations, Mr Valentino Rossi has filed an Appeal against the decision taken by the Race Direction of the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang, penultimate round of the FIM MotoGP Grand Prix World Championship, and confirmed by the FIM Stewards, to award 3 penalty points to Mr Rossi following an incident on Turn 14.

In appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), Mr Rossi seeks annulment or reduction of the penalty. He further requests stay of execution of the decision in accordance with Article R37 of the Code of Sports-Related Arbitration.

The FIM will not comment any further at this time.

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I know lots of people are wibbling plaintively on about 'feet of clay' and 'sportsmanship' and 'unwritten rules', but I'm actually rather enjoying this. You can't complain that the off-track action's dull, and there's always a twist just when you think things are settled.

It's like motorcycle racing scripted by Alfred Hitchcock or Agatha Christie. Or Charles Williams. Anyone seen 'Dead Calm'? Just when you think Rossi's done for, he pops up again, covered in blood...

I do agree. Makes the sport interesting. We want drama and history to be made and now we have it.

To be honest I don't care much about off-track antics until they start to interfere with the on-track ones. I tune into the racing primarily to enjoy the spectacle of the best riders in the world racing the best bikes on the best tracks. I celebrate the thrill of competition that I think is inherent in most of us and then, at least subconsciously, when I ride myself I can sorta pretend to join them in spirit no matter how much more average I am.

The current off-track debacle is something I don't enjoy and certainly don't want to feel any part of. At best it is for me an ugly distraction. At worst it's an example of unsportsmanlike behaviour, from numerous fronts at this point, that lessons my desire to feel any part of.

I like twisted, dark movie plots because they're fiction. MotoGP is full of real people contesting a real championship, and right now it seems as though none of them are enjoying it very much. That diminishes the enjoyment for me too.


If I wanted a drama, I go to a movie. I watch MotoGP because the best riders on best bikes duel it out under a set of rules, pushing to the absolute limit lap after lap.

The riders of a motogp bike are human, and as long as humans ride the bikes there will always be drama. So you might as well enjoy it. Sure you can say that you only watch the sport for the great warriors battling it out every weekend, however than you're admitting that you only care for about 65% of the sport. However, the sport doesn't end when you turn off your television. Motogp is in the riders thoughts, actions, relationships, and memories. Therefore, wether you like it or not drama IS motogp. I understand, that which is why Rossi's or Marquez's actions don't surprise me. Sure I would have preferred a cleaner title fight as well, but because we are dealing with humans and humans ALWAYs bring drama, I accept the direction in which the championship is going. Motogp is drama, you cannot separate the two.

I wonder how much of a case he'll really have regarding the effect of having to start at the back, since he was actually only penalized 3 points, and is only at the back of the grid due to a previous misdemeanor.

That is a very good point indeed. The penalty is 3 points--which could hardly be seen as excessive given the offense. Starting on the back of the grid is just the consequence of cumulative penalties. By the way, races can be won from the back, especially if it rains--think Pedrosa's win at Valencia (2012, 2013?) and even in dry circumstances a top 6 or 8 should be perfectly achievable--so, the penalty "destroying Rossi's career" sounds a bit exaggerated. I still can't believe Rossi was not stripped of his 16 points at Sepang.

To wit, Hector Barbera - the resident MotoGP villain seems to be the only other rider to have incurred four penalty points in 2015.

You're in terrific company there, Valentino.

Also, seeing as penalty points now stand for twelve months rather than being wiped at the end of the season - is Rossi now on probation until his points are wiped between now and October 2016?

Can this mess get worse? Regardless of how Marquez's actions are viewed, Rossi was the one who created this whole situation the sport finds itself in. In my view, he is fortunate that he wasn't black flagged or given a ride through penalty. Instead, he has to start from the back of the pack. Not the best of situations for him but one he has earned by virtue of his own actions. This whole situation has served as an embarrassment to the sport enough so to affect how at least one major sponsor views their possible future participation. So now Rossi takes his case outside the sport. This calls into scrutiny the sport itself. Regardless of how large a figure he represents, he is not larger than the sport. I can only imagine the atmosphere in the room as race direction decided his fate. Valintino Rossi and the possible championship at stake. This decision cannot have been taken lightly. If CAS does anything other than to uphold the decision of race direction, this sport will suffer legitamacy issues for some time to come. If Rossi's penalty is suspended and he wins the championship, you may as well apply an asterisk to it. If Lorenzo wins, people will debate the outcome for some time. This whole situation is more unfortunate than most of us understand, me included, and can only get worse if CAS comes to Rossi's defense. The only winners in this entire mess are all the past champions, especially Giacomo Agostini.

I think you are right in that Rossi is fortunate that he wasn't black-flagged or given a ride through because at the time of the race it seemed clear (to a lot of people) that Rossi must have kicked Marquez off the bike. As the days passed however it became clearer and clearer that this was not the case. Looking back and knowing what we know today after lots of slow motions, a black flag would have been a wrong decision that the race-direction (luckily) did not take.

Exactly. It's hard to have a go at race direction when they made sure they didn't act impulsively.

A lot of people still haven't rewatched the incident from all angles because they are convinced that Rossi kicked Marquez. Hell, some even think Marquez headbutted Rossi's leg. Neither of those happened and it's pretty easy to see as much.

A bit of perspective for people crying about the sport being ruined forever and MotoGP being dragged through the mud. It's an appeal on top of an appeal for an incident between a title contender and someone who is out of contention because the one in with a chance doesn't want to be hampered for something that didn't affect the outcome of the big prize.

We aren't talking a widely known corrupt organization like FIFA and we aren't talking a high court case involving slightly under inflated balls like the NFL. Not to mention a pretty highly publicised career briber and gangster or spying and race rigging teams like F1.

I think all involved, including fans, will be all right.

I have great respect for the legal profession, BUT legal appeals to outside bodies are odious. As far as I can tell, CAS derives its authority from the Olympic Committee - not exactly unimpeachable rectitude there. I really wish Rossi hadn't let this genie out if the bottle.

The prospect of the World Championship going to the rider with the best lawyers is repugnant in the extreme. This may do more damage to the sport than all the distasteful events to date.

Totally agree, I for one is very disappointed at Rossi. A 36 years old 9 time world champion threw childish tantrum on the track. MM was dog fighting with him no doubt in a legal manner, exactly like Rossi in his earlier years.

2010 Motegi, Jorge Lorenzo was going for his first championship while teammate Rossi was out of it. Rossi battled him with daring moves and touching fairings for third place. It was a great battle to the end, Rossi enjoyed it. Now the shoe is on the other foot and he acted like a child in Malaysia. What happened to the guy who build his career on close racing?

One position lost to Rossi (by Lorenzo) wouldn't of changed the outcome of the championchip...

I was slapping my head during the whole race at mortegi in 2010 cause JL was being stupid to enter into that battle... at all... what did he have to gain by beating Rossi? Bagel - 0 -.

Rossi wasn't being much more intelligent either... but the comparision is not relevant in my book.... apples and oranges comparison as far as I am concerned.

You see, whether Jorge was wise to battle with Rossi or not is not being questioned here...fact is Rossi wanted to beat a rider (his team mate, no less) who was "in a different race" for the championship, to the extent of almost knocking him off...that, according to Rossi, is against the rules. With 125 points up for grabs & only 56 points in it, finishing 2nd would have given him one hand on the cup compared to a DNF or worse.

“There is no implication of wrongdoing, otherwise Race Direction would have intervened. But a rider can be very aggressive, or too aggressive. Valentino was too aggressive."... that was about a race 5 years ago not last week.

I loved it... I loved PI... I was really enjoying Sepang until Rossi stopped racing. They're there to race & I'm here to watch it. They stop racing I leave.

"What happened to the guy who build his career on close racing?"

He raced Marquez back just fine. I think his frustration came from Marquez having no interest in winning, just being so aggressive neither of them were going to get further than they already were. Remember, no matter what commentators, journalists and fans discuss after practice sessions all of these riders are trying to do their best. For the top four that is win first, damage control for points second.

Rossi wasn't planning on cruising to an easy third, that isn't what this incident was about.

You race like Marquez did if you have to win the race and you know the guy in front is faster, or towards the end of the race to get a higher position. Doing it at that point is only going to hinder a result.

You can look at any other race to see that this is how it works.

Marquez alone can't do 7 overtakes on a rider in a lap without being overtaken back, right? Vale was just as engaged in the fight as Marquez was yet I don't see anyone blaming him for it. I don't understand why sitting back in 4th for a few laps before attacking MM wasn't an option for Rossi. He has everything to lose and very little to gain and yet he decided to furiously engage in that battle in the first quarter of the race. What sense does it make from his POV?

MM was not as slow (based on actual laptimes) as Rossi would have you believe. Rossi even suggested that MM wasn't opening up on straights, but his top speeds on each lap were similar to that of Pedrosa as well.

While I'm sure MM had a personal grudge and he didn't want to let Rossi through at any cost, I don't think all of Rossi's accusations are true.

You seem to make that statement assuming this is all Valentino Rossi's doing? Fair enough, that is your opinion. But you must also understand or at least appreciate that many people do not share it. Many top-class racers fall either side of the fence and their opinions are far more insightful than ours.

Jorge Lorenzo's attitude in the press conference? The Ridiculous statement from Repsol? Bearded BT Sports journalist that refers to any person's opinion that differs from his own as a "Rossi fanatic"?

Getting tired of people who do not see Valentino Rossi in this situation as "Satan" being labeled as a "clueless fanboy".

I am not as eloquent as many of you on here and I think Rossi blew a fuse in this race. But please stop trying to put the whole situation on his head. It brought out the worst in Rossi, Marquez and Lorenzo (as it had nothing to do with #99 in the race and made him look very bitter).

It makes the last race at Valencia a shambles. I think many people will be tuning into Valencia to see a freak show. I'll be avoiding it and peek at the replay afterwards. Never done that in the 14 years I've watched this sport. If Rossi wins (unlikely) the internet will explode. If he doesn't and Jorge wins (he's ridden exceptionally well this year and would deserve it), it seems many will stay on to see how loudly he's boo'ed on the podium.

Meanwhile the gleaming light of this ugly mess is the resurgence of Dani Pedrosa (who I greatly admire).

I'm not looking forward to Valencia. Wish I was...

Even though I think Rossi deserves the consequence, an athlete should use all the tools at his/her disposal. It probably won't work but it's always worth a shot.

The only way I see him not deserving of the consequence is that if you look at the entirety of Rossi's racecraft, the move seemed extremely out of character. I wouldn't have believed it myself unless I saw 20 replays. I had to hear it from his mouth to truly believe it. Had it been countless other wreckers riders, I would have believed it

I hope that that the FIM/dorna and CAS riders too, everyone keeps some integrity and fairly sort this out. I do agree with what you said about v.rossi racecraft. Last lap lunges apart, this is out of character for him. I think it's sad that his career could well be tainted because one rider pushed him too far, ultimately it's his own doing as that action can never be condoned, but sad all the same.

It's basically been 5 non-winning years of stress for him and to think that someone outside of the championship contest is purposefully trying to deny you the fair chance (or at least the way Rossi sees it) must be an immense amount of pressure.

I hope this whole thing blows over and Valencia provides us some clean and fun racing.

It's interesting that you mention last lap lunges, because since it's come out that after Aragon that Rossi went and asked Pedrosa about why Dani put up such a fight, I thought back on that last pass Rossi tried to put on Pedrosa. I remember thinking at the time that that was a pretty un-Rossi-esque (attempted) pass, very much just chucking it in and hoping for the best, whereas normally, even at his most aggressive, there always seemed to be a sense that it was under control.

Perhaps makes it a bit more sense now in hindsight.

I went back and looked at the footage of Biaggi elbowing Rossi off of the track in 2001 with no particular sanction - granted Rossi didn't crash, but unlike this case (i) Rossi was actually run off the track; and, (ii) Biaggi hit Rossi to get him to do it. Here, (i) Marquez wasn't actually actually run off the track; and (ii) Marquez crashed largely because he leaned into and made contact with Rossi (granted Rossi was guiding him wide) which was not - based on what I've seen - inevitable, only inevitable if Marquez had a right to the line, which as the trailing / outside rider, he did not. Collectively, wouldn't this seem to point to a judgment in Rossi's general favor?

Altogether, this is a very ugly business, and Rossi shares a lot of culpability for taking the Marquez bait - however Marquez's behavior and riding this whole season has been, shall we say, bizarre.

MM93 would have ended up off the track if he hadn't leaned in. That's exactly *why* VR46 has been penalized for causing the crash. It was a deliberate effort to slow down MM93 that led to a crash. Whoever you support in the world championship, claiming that poor VR46 is a victim in this case is illogical. MM93's actions weren't unprovoked any more than VR46's actions were unprovoked.

From the overhead footage, Rossi did intentionally drift his bike towards a point ahead where Marquez was heading. However Rossi was the rider ahead, and the actual contact was initiated by Marquez turning in. Rossi blocked Marquez, Marquez decided to keep going. And I'm sorry, but Marquez had the option to roll off and concede the corner (and a good chunk of exit speed) to Rossi.

This happened because neither rider would concede an inch to another. Rossi was the rider with the inside line, and had his wheel ahead - that used to count for something.

The big question for me in this is, assuming one agrees Marquez could have rolled off but instead chose to not concede and turn in, what happens to the block pass in racing? Given that assumption, and given Webb's ruling on this, where now is the line between a legitimate block pass and illegitimate blocking?

What's going to happen to close racing if racing incidents like this, which seem to be down to a rider holding to a line to disadvantage another but not to contact them, are deemed illegitimate?

Problem is that Rossi rolled off to the tune of 2 seconds in that one corner. I believe that this fact, and the fact that he looked back 3 times to see where Marquez was, provided sufficient evidence for race control to deem that Rossi was no longer 'racing' and was riding irresponsibly.

If Rossi were to have ridden the same line with the same outcome at close to his normal race speed and without looking over his shoulder at his opponent, I think that there would be a legitimate case for it to be viewed as a racing incident.

Let's say the roles were reversed, and Marc deliberately ran Rossi to the verge of the track, resulting in a situation where Rossi crashed. His fans would rightly call for Marc to be sanctioned. In the end what Marc was doing was racing, what Rossi did was something else and wouldn't be allowed in any top class racing category, F1 etc.

By Rossi's account his intention was to block Marquez' entry into the corner to mess up his exit and give Rossi the opportunity to get a gap out of the corner. That sounds like racing to me. And it looked like that on the overhead view too. Further, if Rossi was rolling off so much, how come he was still ahead of Marc? The truth must be that, if Rossi rolled off (and bear in mind, he came in hot to the corner having made an inside pass) he didn't go that much slower than Marc - certainly, not so slow that Marc could pass around the outside.

To me, it looked like an unorthodox but blocking manoeuvre from Rossi, the final piece of an inside pass, intended to slow his rival down and get a gap. Marc wasn't going to give an inch. Marc will choose to turn in and risk a crash before conceding an inch, we've seen this before from Marc, not just with Rossi but with Pedrosa too - and that's just recently.

If blocking manoeuvres are banned, while "if in doubt, just turn in on a rider who has passed you and is alongside - if there's contact, it won't be you who is penalised" is rewarded (paradoxically, given this is supposed to be about safety), then I fear for what is going to happen to the racing.

I'm a big fan of both Rossi and Marc. They're both amazing, fearless, and uncompromising riders. Which makes them great to watch. However, Rossi let himself down with the war of words he started on Thursday (though, Marquez does have form with Rossi). Time will tell if race direction has let down racing, by neutering such riders with decisions like this.

I think you're drawing a very long bow here in speculating on a ban of block passes. This incident was far from being that.

I understand Rossi's frustration with Marquez, but the fact that he was eyeballing him as he ran him out to the edge of the track is where his actions went outside the realm of 'racing'. Even though Rossi dropped two second in that lap due to his actions, it certainly wasn't a low-speed incident - both riders were at risk of injury due to Rossi's brainsnap.

Bear in mind, the written rule breached in this was: ""Riders must ride in a responsible manner which does not cause danger to other competitors or participants".

So what is the penalty for exactly. Danger here has to be relative, and the orthdox blocking pass is considered generally to be acceptable. So what exactly was the irresponsible riding that caused additional danger to justify a punishment under the regulations of the sport?

Was it going slower - though Rossi was not much slower than Marquez, and indeed had *passed* him going into the turn on the inside (which surely we'd agree is a legitimate thing to do).

Was it Rossi going for a point on the track ahead of the path of Marquez'? But Rossi was the rider ahead, and going for a point ahead of an opponent to prevent them from being able to use that space surely is a core part of racing?

Everyone I suspect would agree it can not be those factors. Those are factors that are inherent to block passes. And I have to say, I still don't understand why this manoeuvre of Rossi was that different to other block passes. I've seen much harder block passes made on opponents.

Your suggestion is that it was Rossi looking at Marquez. That's the additional factor? Can you expand on the significance of that? Is it because of how safety was affected, or is it because of the optics and the emotional response to it?

Cause if it's the latter rather than (or more than even) the former, then it doesn't conform to the regulations, and it's probably a bad decision. I certainly fear this may be another milestone in the neutering of GP racing.

>> And I have to say, I still don't understand why this manoeuvre of Rossi was that different to other block passes. I've seen much harder block passes made on opponents.....Your suggestion is that it was Rossi looking at Marquez. That's the additional factor? Can you expand on the significance of that? Is it because of how safety was affected, or is it because of the optics and the emotional response to it?

Its obvious to most what the penalty was for but lots of people refuse to see it. You block pass when you intend to pass someone. Rossi pulled a block pass, then sat up a bit, then looked back two or three times and adjusted his trajectory to make sure he was still obstructing Marquez, not merely passing him. Without the sit up and looking back there is not much there to penalize because you still have the excuse of 'I am racing'. When you slow down, sit up and look back multiple times you are no longer racing and not racing on a racetrack during a race can cause danger to other competitors. He lost 2 sec on one turn of a 14 turn racetrack. That is excessive and RD agrees.


Sorry, but the rules do not define what is "racing". There is no rule that says one can not block other riders, that one must be "racing" or else be subject to penalties.

Denying other riders space, blocking them and pushing them wide is a part of integral. That Rossi did so with more exasperation than normal should not be penalisable. That he did so with more deliberate slowing down than normal shouldn't be penalisable either. Why should it? Just cause it's unusual?

Again, the regulation is concerned with safety and responsible riding. I saw racing - unorthodox perhaps - but it was genuine racing. Riders pushing each other to the limit, not backing off, and one lost out, as happens not infrequently. If every unusual bit of racing is penalised I fear for the future of the sport.

What Rossi did was very different to a normal block pass. In a block pass while the rider making the pass will more than likely push the rider being passed out wide a bit and make them lose a bit of drive, there is still the intent to make the apex and make the corner, and the rider being passed can work to that assumption, and as you say, potentially scrub off a bit more speed and tuck in tighter.

I don't think it's huge stretch to say that Marquez was working to the same assumption given he was trying to turn in when he hit the deck. But again, that assumption only works when the rider making the pass has the intention of making the turn, which Rossi, by his actions and his own admission did not.

to see how a block pass should be done watch the last lap final corner of Jerez last year. Rossi was being quickly caught by Pedrosa and would have been passed easily but he slowed considerably and put his bike on the apex to block Pedrosa before accelerating to the finish line.
While not a pass as he was already leading the mechanics are the same.

Rossi did make the turn. So that bit doesn't hold.

On Rossi's intentions, who knows, but afterwards he said he (more or less) wanted to screw up Marc's entry into the corner badly enough so he (Rossi) could get a gap out of it and have a chance to shake off Marc. Agree or disagree with what happened, but that sounds like a racing tactic.

See my other reply immediately above. It isn't enough to say this pass was different to other passes and unusual (and, on what element exactly, for /looking/ at Marquez?). To punish Rossi under the regulations (well, regulation; MotoGP has just one - vague - reg on this), it must be shown how this pass was more irresponsible and dangerous than other passes (e.g. block passes), as that is what the regulation is about.

I fear there is possibly a general element of an emotional response to this, of emotional disgust at Rossi's mind games earlier and his obvious exasperation on-track at Marc trying to race him, that has crept in. However, neither of those things should be factors in the decision to penalise Rossi.

Webb's explanation (from the article) was: " he deliberately ran wide in the turn in order to give himself an advantage in order to get away from Marquez". Bear in mind, Rossi was *ahead* of Marc, by a wheel. From the overhead, it is clear the actual contact was initiated by Marc's turn-in, and Webb presumably saw that too. The bit that makes me fear Webb also succumbed to emotion was "You can't react in a way that causes a rider to crash" - he seems to have been taking the "provocation" and "reaction" into account in his decision making, unfortunately, to at least some degree.

What Webb is saying is that riders who are ahead are not free to block others, even if they are ahead, because the passed-rider might choose to not back off, to not concede (despite having been passed on the inside), but to instead turn in and roll the dice on making the rider-ahead sit-up or else crash (one or both).

You could surely equally argue Marc was the one who risked taking both of them down by turning in; rather than than taking the option of conceding the corner, backing off and turning in behind Rossi (who would have driven away from him on exit as a result). Indeed, as Marc was the rider *behind*, surely the onus was on Marc? Indeed, historically, that _is_ where the onus was.

It's a decision which, to me, takes a very non-clear-cut case and unfortunately resolves it with a decision that errs on the side of neutered racing. A decision taking in a very emotional atmosphere, which may have affected the (sole) decision maker. On that last point, it is a good thing to have this go to CAS, for a hopefully more sober review.

Is how could Marquez "just slow and turn in behind Rossi"? Rossi was watching were Marquez was, letting the brakes on and off (which is clearly visible by watching his forks), and sitting the bike up to keep on running him off to the edge of the track. Where does the opportunity for Marquez to turn in up the inside of Rossi occur in this situation?

This is a block pass: Fire it up in the inside, pushing the other rider a bit wide, then park it in on a late apex before powering out, costing them drive. Hard racing, and designed to slow the rider being passed, but with the clear intent of still taking the corner as fast as possible. And in that example, because Bradl was heading out of the corner, Iannone was able to slow a bit more and (try and) cut it up the inside.

Rossi rolled the dice and lost. There is always a risk in that sort of riding. If Marquez hadn't a fallen he probably wouldn't have copped three points, he'd more than likely copped a bollocking from Race Direction and probably one point for it. But there's no way that sort of maneuver wasn't going to be classed as dangerous riding after Marquez hit the deck.

You'd think id be well versed in this stuff! Haha but who is the CAS? Can my man Terrific Tom Brady appeal to them as well? Not that he needs to at this point. Or is it only for racing? Or only for European sports? Or only "federated" sports organizations?

The only possible outcome now where there is a chance of most people agreeing the 2015 champion is the right one, is if CAS suspends the three point penalty to next year, allowing Rossi to take his qualifying position on the starting grid, and subsequently Lorenzo still winning the championship by getting 7 or more points on Rossi in the race outcome.
Any other outcome will leave one of the parties and his fans screaming injustice for a long time.
I'm not saying that it would be right to suspend the penalty, I'm just saying what the consequences are going to be if they don't.
Imagine if they suspend the penalty and Rossi wins the championship. What do you think Lorenzo is going to do?
And Rossi fans will be screaming injustice if Lorenzo wins with Rossi starting at the back of the grid.
What a mess, incredible.

Not to mention that, if they did suspend the penalty and then VR46 doesn't win, then what? People will complain that it was a distraction and ask for a do-over. It's insanity. VR46 made this bed, now he has to sleep in it. This is coming from someone who wanted to see him with the championship.

Just my words! He wins the appeal, but loses the championship... That will make him a sore loser :-/
I would love to see him win it too!
Two Honda's on the top, JL99 3rd, then some English dudes and some Ducati break downs = Rossi 6th and a champion.
It may be a tall order, but it's not at all impossible. (except if it's Dani first, and MM gets a pit sign of Rossi 6th. Will MM run wide in a corner, then?) Muhahaha!

Well the other possible outcome that would result in everyone agreeing about the champion is if Rossi takes his lumps, starts at the back and finishes within 7 points of Lorenzo. I've been rooting for Rossi like most of the planet, but if he's going to win it, i'd prefer he win it asterisk free.

Thanks David this make the process much clearer for us, and the implications. Another great article!

In hindsight, VR might have been wiser to appeal the single point issued earlier...

For my opinion (yeah we all got one...)

RD decided to give VR 3 points.

If I remember correctly (...) RD explained this situation as (actually, forget iirc, I'll look go look it up brb)

From the ever helpful

"It's a precedent. The last time this happened where a rider deliberately made a manoeuvre that ended up in a crash was at Jerez this year [Hanika against Guevara]. In that case we awarded five Penalty Points because the rider [Hanika] admitted he did it deliberately and it was as a result of him being frustrated with the other rider.

“Hanika was a blatant 'Yes, I tried to hit the other rider, I wanted to hurt him'. This case was 'I did it by mistake' but the end result was still a crash."

So to my mind, no where does Webb say

"well you were a naughty boy, so we're going really spoil your chances at the championship"

Nope, he's saying 'well we gave Hanika 5 points for being VERY naughty, you were less naughty, so you got 3'

The other thing that plays to my mind, is that as the time post SIC passes, the attitude to what happened with Rossi has softened... Many people, and I'm not talking about fanboys and trolls, have sort of gone from treating Rossi like he basically punched MM in the face, to a more ambiguous 'well actually, if you look at it like this, it's not so bad' stance...

So taking into account Rossi's position in the championship and the harm that starting last will do to his championship, and his standing as sportsman (how many have said that a 10th title will truly cement Rossi's standing as the GOAT) then he has a very valid reason to lodge an appeal with the CAS.

I could also include here a paragraph about how a stay could easily be interpreted as some sort of back door, 'keep the star rider sweet, keep the championship sweet, yet still end up enforcing the original ruling, thus not undermining RD's original decision' deal (actually that was that paragraph wasn't it?)

I would personally call this the "having your cake and eating it" resolution

It's easy to think of VR's penalty as effectively being 'say goodbye to the championship' but IMO this was never the intention of RD (hence no disqualification from SIC results or refusal of participation in Valencia)

No he got points, which is effectively a generic punishment, that just so happens to coincide with the season finale...

...for example, VR could of perhaps received the same 3 points for Argentina, later picked up the single point for the qualifying infraction and instead be appealing that.

It doesn't matter (now) if I, you or anyone thinks Rossi did or didn't, should or shouldn't... it's in the hands of the lawyers, and that's a whole new ball game.

If you'll permit me, I'd like to end on some worthless speculation...

All year my buddies and I have been chatting MotoGP. We decided a long, LONG time ago, that with VR, if it went down to the wire, then a 9 point lead was a bit of an ask, 12 would be better, but really he'd need to a 13 point lead over Lorenzo to feel fairly safe going to the final round.

I expect JL to win next time out and Repsol Hondas to make up the rest of the podium.

Of course JL could crash, stall on the line or have a mechanical.

In which case, the whole SIC/CAS situation becomes somewhat academic...

So, the fat lady is about to sing, and her song is about Lorenzo, because I feel that what he does Sunday week, will have more bearing on 2015 than Rossi's starting position.

Of course if MotoGP was so predicable we wouldn't watch it... So lets see.

If Rossi didn't have the first penalty point from disturbing Lorenzo, would he have gotten four points for this offence? It's still not as many as Hanika, but it's enough to have an inpact this season.

Rossi should have never gained a penalty point from that.

Quote from Mike Webb:

"It's my opinion on the way [Marquez] was riding, the lap time, my perception is that as many riders do he was trying to change the race. But I was very clear with him that he didn't break a rule. So Marquez has not been penalized.

However we took into account when making the penalty on Rossi, that he certainly had some provocation."

I am not condoning Rossi's actions on the track, but can you blame him for exhausting all actions available to him to prevent outside influence from determining the winner of the 2015 MotoGP Championship? Even Race Direction admits that Marquez was riding in a way as to change the outcome of the race.

Can you imagine if the tables were turned and a rider, who is totally out of the championship hunt, was deliberately trying to prevent Marquez from winning a championship? Can you imagine the rage of Marquez's father and the lengths he would go for justice?

Rossi had no trouble sticking to Lorenzo's rear tire after the pass. If not for Marquez's interference, we quite possibly could have seen the dry VR/JL fight we have been waiting for all season.

The only poison I see is Marc Marquez and his childish behavior. But now, no matter what happens in Valencia, this season will never have an 'official' winner due to this mess. What a waste of one of the all time greatest racing campaigns.

IIRC, after MM crashed VR didn't pull back any of the lead on JL. If MM hadn't fought with VR then he still would have finished in third or fourth, DP and JL were faster than VR and were going to leave him.

I think that Rossi was at fault although it takes two to tango. There have been plenty of similar moves in recent years (Marquez, Lorenzo, Simoncelli etc.) with the riders getting a slap on the wrist and the "play nice with the other kids" speech and Rossi can't be considered a serial offender so maybe this would be a nice face saving exercise if he gets away with it.

I'd be surprised if he's in the hunt for a title next year and even more surprised if he didn't retire.

Maybe just letting the race run based on qualifying and let whoever wins call it a legitimate victory isn't such a bad thing for the sport.

'Rossi has a case when he says that being forced to start from the back of the grid would cause him irreparable harm. However, that was precisely the point of Race Direction imposing this penalty, a case they will make for not granting the suspension.'

Seems like the argument is: race direction applied a penalty, and a penalty is something that is a hindrance, but that hindrance will negatively affect Rossi's career, so it should not be applied until it is less of a hindrance, if at all. How is that a case? Its merely an argument that Rossi getting another title is more important than following the rules. Your honor, my client committed the crime, but if you send him to jail it will negatively affect his career so you shouldn't send him to jail, at least maybe until he retires and it doesn't matter anymore.

>>That will be the basis of the decision on whether Rossi's interests outweigh Race Direction's, as the penalty was meant to provide a specific punishment.

How is that even under debate? Rossi's interests in 'winning' another title overweigh the rules of the game? What hubris.

Is there any chance of the CAS increasing the penalty if they see fit?


I'm a Rossi supporter, but in the spirit of what he did and how he did it, he deserved the penalty and I actually think it is quite reasonable. Another alternative, perhaps not supported by precedent, would have been to DQ him from Sepang and let him start as he qualifies at Valencia. That outcome would have been worse, as he would be now 8 points down I think.

In the spirit of a last race showdown, I would love for the stay to be upheld and he starts wherever he qualifies. At least there would be some drama. Even with him qualifying second row, I assume jorge wins or finishes second, rossi would still need a 2nd or 3rd to be champion, which is far, far, far from guaranteed.

As it stands now, I am doing rain dances. Barring catastrophe for jorge or all the other fast guys miraculously crashing out, that is the only shot rossi has of being within 6 points of jorge. Remember he loses the tiebreak as well.

At this point, I want the most deserving rider to win it, and at this point, in my mind, it is Jorge. He got out in front of Rossi when it counted and that created the opportunity for whatever was going to happen between marquez and Rossi. If Rossi finds a way to beat Jorge, whether it is through a stay of penalty or rain, then he deserves to be champion!!

Can't wait for whatever happens...and then the season will then be over. :(

I really do not know what to think right now. On one hand, I am disappointed with both Rossi and Marquez for childish antics... And I have to include Lorenzo, too. He is not without some blame for the ugliness. On the other hand, in an increasingly litigious world, we have been lucky that MotoGP has escaped major controversies that most other major sports endure. I guess it is about time we joined the club, sadly enough.

One thing is for certain: This season has been ruined for me. I wanted to see professionals racing for a title, not a legal battle.

Whatever happens now, there will be ifs and buts and loads of fans will have sensible opinions...
What a shame for this brilliant year.
In a few years time however all that will matter is who will have won.

it would take, I believe, a very considerable feat of legal logic.

Firstly, there is surely the question of whether a last-grid position start represents 'irreparable damage'.

The notion of 'irreparable damage' would - one would think - hinge on the concept that failing to win the WC through the imposition of the penalty is: a) an inevitable consequence, and b) 'damage' that would not otherwise occur.

That failing to achieve a sufficiently good position at the end of the race to win the WC is 'inevitable' as a result of the last grid position, is already disproved. There is recent precedent - ironically, by Marquez in 2012 - that it is possible to win from last position on the grid.

That starting from the last position on the grid ensures that 'damage' will occur that otherwise would not, is also disproved. Equally ironically, there is precedent from Rossi of leading the WC into the last round, starting from his achieved grid position and inflicting on himself 'damage'.

Then there is the further possibility that Lorenzo could start well, but finish badly - or not at all (Valencia 2014, anybody?) which would have Rossi as WC even if he himself does not finish. Or even, Lorenzo could be unable to start ( P.I. 2012, anybody?) in which case the race itself would have no bearing on the outcome of the WC - even if Rossi also were not to start or finish.

As things stand, Rossi is not, by anybody's standards, being allowed to run his Valencia race on the merit of his performance during the weekend. That is one side of the argument here.

The opposite side is that that situation is a result of the application of rules that were in force when the incident occurred - and those rules do not have any 'effectiveness ratio' inbuilt: there is no allowance for the consequence to whatever race they happen to affect throughout the season.

To me, there is simply too much weight of evidence that says 'anything can happen in racing' for the CAS to rule that 'damage' is a directly inevitable consequence of the ruling of RD. Indeed , if it were to so do, it would surely open up precedent for challenges to RD decisions of unimaginable complexity in the future.

This whole situation is way more than a can of worms, it is a nest of vipers.

Article 14 states "…When deciding whether to award any preliminary relief, the President of the ad hoc Division or the Panel, as the case may be, shall consider: (1) whether the relief is necessary to protect the applicant from irreparable harm, (2) the likelihood of success on the merits of the claim, and (3) whether the interests of the applicant outweigh those of the opponent or of other members of the Olympic Community." The standard of proof appears to be a preponderance of the evidence.

I think irreparable harm can be proven. The likeliest outcome for Lorenzo can be predicted given his form over the second half of the season and his sterling record at Valencia. It's difficult to argue that the chance of Rossi coming from back-of-grid to finish 6th or better is other than "very unlikely". The odds of either man not finishing are also slim, given their form this season (and giving more weight to the second half). A back-of-grid start severely handicaps Rossi, as compared to starting where he qualifies. (And he can show podium finishes this season when starting as poorly as 8th.)

Likelihood of success on the merits is fuzzier. The last issue is the actual penalty itself, which Rossi also challenges. Precedent (and admission by RD): Hanika INTENTIONALLY CONTACTED a rider, INTENTION to crash him, INTENTION to injure him. Hanika got 5 points. Rossi INTENTIONALLY ran a rider wide, NO INTENT to crash him, NO INTENT to injure him. Rossi got 3 points. That sounds fair ... except RD said they further took into account that MM93 provoked VR46. Where do we find that mitigation in the Rossi penalty?

This, I think, is where Rossi also claims that MM93 unexpectedly and unforeseeably turned into him, making contact and causing his crash. Rossi did not chop the throttle; both men appeared to slowly decelerate (or, perhaps more accurately, fail to accelerate as aggressively as usual out of the corner). Overhead views show Marquez left with pavement ahead of him, suggesting he was not compelled to turn in on Rossi or face the peril of loose gravel. At a minimum, it contradicts RD's conclusion taht Rossi running Marquez wide what the cause of Marquez's crash. Going farther and labeling Marquez's move a "superseding act", which would absolve VR46 of liability for MM93's crash, despite Rossi running wide and slowing slightly on the racing line. If Race Direction already had said the running wide itself was not a problem (and if they can't prove it alone would be a violation worth a 3-point penalty) ... then it's at least arguable that VR46 would prevail on the merits.

Regarding balancing the parties' interests, fostering a safe riding environment is a strong interest, but they have to be able to paint Rossi's behavior as directly opposite that goal. RD is disadvantaged by their own admission that Rossi running Marquez wide was not itself dangerous riding, and I believe they'll be further disadvantaged by footage showing Marquez needlessly initiated the contact when other, better options were available (e.g. slow a little bit more).

RD took deductions from Hanika's precedent setting 5 points for lack of intent and MM aggravating factors (e.g. slow exits). I think the RD missed the point that MM could/should have tried to avoid the incident. Lead rider was clearly in his path and MM chose not to brake or steer clear. Was he simply too surprised to react or was it a simple game of chicken? Doesn't matter. Given the situation, I think what happened was a good outcome - both riders walked away. I think there was no way both riders were going to finish that race and VR stopped it from escalating further. MM did look to come down pretty firmly on his face, but a slow low side way better than many other possibilities, even so bad luck can happen and no one want to see MM go down. At the end of the day, we all want everyone go home.

I think this is happening because Rossi doesn't want to wake up one night in ten years, in a cold sweat, wondering "what if I had done everything I could." It's all about doing everything you can to get the maximum result for yourself as a racer. The altercation and resulting penalty are far from from clear-cut in regards to their causes, who is responsible, is it the best penalty (even David here has wondered aloud if perhaps an in-race penalty may have been a possible solution). It's not like Rossi t-boned Marquez on purpose and ran over him. There are gray areas here. In this context it is reasonable for Rossi to do everything he can, completely legally, to do everything in his power to give himself the best shot possible. If Marquez was some innocent little urchin, I wouldn't be saying this. But he had his part to play, for better or worse, as even Race Direction as admitted. Let Rossi do what he needs to do to feel like he did everything possible. Don't take that away from an elite athlete, this is their whole purpose for living.

On a side note, I think we can all dispense with the hand-wringing about the ruination of the sport, and I'm rolling my eyes especially hard at the FIM president and the all-of-a-sudden grave and pious Repsol. Pipe down, management. Things happen. You had a hand in creating the environment that gave rise to these events, stop acting like you're SO shocked. Repsol in particular, as title sponsor of a team featuring MM93, a rider with as much or more history of crash'em-bash'em racing as anyone on the grid, look like a bunch of two-faced fools. I say let's focus on the future. We're going to have an exciting race in Valencia and the following day, the sun will rise.

The news says Rossi lodged the appeal.
Why was it not Yamaha? Are they not entitled to or is Rossi alone responsible for the initiative?

I don't know these guys, and, to be honest, I feel a bit sheepish even admitting this, but this whole scenario makes me feel like I'm watching 2 of my good friends, drunk, in the back yard of a college rental apartment, throwing down after too much piss-water lager and Jagermeister.

Sad, really.

David, couldnt Rossi simply try to appeal the 1 point from Mugello with the CAS? Or the fact that they didnt appeal directly to FIM right after the race negates this argument?

I would imagine it would be easier to convince them that the Mugello incident had no repercussions or however you want to call it.

In the end, all he needs is 1 point penalty taken off his license.

Rossi admitted he made a mistake and blocked Lorenzo even though there was no impact to qualification. Its also past the deadline to contest. Done/Over/Caput/Fineto.

For those who want off track drama to this degree, follow F1. That sport needs it because the on track action is so boring they need the off track soap opera to be able to create some type of headline. In MotoGP, the off track adds to the sport, but this is disgusting.

I have been a long time fan of Rossi, and was really hoping he would win this year just based on how he has adapted and changed and innovated the way he rides while adding years of wisdom to the mix to win races and finish on the podium in nearly all of them. I also have been amazed by Marquez's raw talent since he was in Moto2. But Marquez is acting like a petulant child. Marquez clearly was playing with Rossi and Ianonne in PI. Rossi fanned the flames and turned Marquez into the Devil himself at Sepang. Marquez clearly slowing mid corner (watch two corners before the incident) to mess with Rossi. He deserved the move from Rossi. But Rossi went too far and the contact between the two sent Marquez to the ground, regardless of the intent.

Now it is Rossi's turn to act like a child and lodge this appeal. He should accept RC's decision and start from the back. He needs to shut up and ride like the champion elect. Without this, if he wins the championship, it will ring hollow to me.

Pedrosa said it best, this entire situation is plain weird. Phillip Island will always remain the highlight. I'm less enthused now that an otherwise brilliant season is immersed in politics. I've realized: 1) I love Rossi a little less, though I believe his account of on-track events 2) like Marquez a little more, and I'm not even sure why, other than his absolute skill riding a motorcycle at its limits 3) dislike Lorenzo the same as before; the look of disgust on his face post race was tough to endure given his second half form and SERIOUS final-race advantage 4) I'm rooting for Dani to win it next year (Iannone the year after?). Coming back from potentially career-ending surgery to beat even Lorenzo and then humanize the ugliness of MotoGP at the post race press event... I applaud him. Go Dani!

Dear danomar

What is your basis for claiming Jorge Lorenzo has done anything other than ridden like a true championship protagonist, winning six races thus far to Rossi's four (6-4) ?

A terribly sordid affair. So very very disappointed in my idol. One of the best seasons ever and now my hero Valentino Rossi is at fault for bringing the sport into ridicule. He totally came apart last weekend and has no one but himself to blame for letting himself get involved with that petulant child, Mark Marquez. And now instead of Val taking his lumps, he takes it to the CAS.
The ONLY way he can redeem himself and salvage his reputation is to start from the back of the grid and do his best. I would still love to see him win the title, but asterisk free. On the track and not in the courts.

Has anybody though that starting from the back stops MM from playing silly games with Rossi. If MM drops back to sixth or seventh to get in Rossi face his true side will be totally exposed. Of cousre he could let JL win by blocking Dani instead. (How would Honda like that).... If only MM realised that his over the top racing techniques have seen him come of second best so many times already this year... Just as many other champions had to learn in the past, the sooner he wakes up the better for the whole MotoGP show.

It's like O J Simpson asking for a retrial !
He was lucky to get his back of the grid penalty and keep the points.
If he was in F1 it would have at the least been a drive through.
If CAS can overturn the original penalty can they also take his 16 points away for 3rd ?

I don´t know about you all, but I was completely wrong about the kick. I needed to see, frame by frame, enlarged overhead stuff from the chopper to understand that what I thought I saw was not what happened.

I have read all the comments and they are almost all accurate if the facts are as each writer believes they are. But I was a member of Race Control for two years back in the 500 days and we had nothing except, at most, a feed camera shot and some black and white security camera footage. Now Race Control is Big Brother, but what is going to CAS is a lot more that video. If what I have been told is accurate, Rossi´s attorney will present the data acquisition feed from both bikes. That data ¨belongs" to the FIM whenever they require it the same way the authorities can require teams to hand over data for investigations. We assume that Race Direction would have had the same access, but maybe they didn´t. Maybe they wanted to get a decision taken on the day. They would have come in for more criticism yet if there had been no initial decision taken.

It was always obvious that there would be an appeal beyond the FIM. I don´t know why Lin Jarvis said there could be no appeal unless he either didn´t know or was only referring to the FIM process.

The CAS usually needs months to make a judgement, so it seems likely that, unless they throw the case out immediately, unlikely given the complexity, then they will probably kick the can up the road toward Qatar 2016 and Rossi, while the case is under consideration, will start from where he qualifies in Valencia.

Until we actually know what the "black boxes" contain, we won´t really know enough to make moral pronouncements. It still looks like Rossi was out of line, but it sure looked like he kicked Marquez too. He did slow too and Race Direction is saying that his slowing is what caused Marc to crash. That, I suspect, is what Rossi´s attorney will call to question. Race Direction has already said that it not illegal to slow the pace, as Marc was allegedly doing through some curves. Data acquisition will determine whether this is true.

Jack Miller at the end of last year was running Alex Marquez wide often, but, apparently, there is no foul unless the other rider crashes or the rate of slowing is judges to be....what? There I go, guessing at what is fair and what is foul. Precedents are going to be set by this decision.

It is a shame it has come to this. It is bad for the sport, but it is important to get this right since the technology is there to allow the truth to come out. The truth is always worth waiting for.

The complexities of 'legal' proceedings are so labyrinthine as to beggar the imagination. We have seen - and I am serious - cases up to murder being decided on such legal conflations as to 'probable cause' for the discovery of bodies causing cases to be dismissed. Defendant 'X' was found to have six bodies in the back of his truck - but the Police had no legal reason to search the dismissed. OK, perhaps slightly hyperbolic, but terribly similar stuff has happened.

Unless it is found that RD made a fundamental error of judgement of what they (apparently) saw, then the next issue is that they mis-applied the rules. The issue of a kick or no kick was not a part of RD's decision, it was based upon Rossi's trajectory and speed viz-a-viz Marquez's. Rossi has admitted intent to intrude on the racing line available to Marquez; he is on thin ice, I believe, if his lawyers were to suggest that this was not a contributory factor to the crash: both RD and the FIM Stewards have so adjudicated.

'Provocation' is generally accepted as a mitigating factor in criminal cases - but RD has already indicated that it has taken 'provocation' into account. For this to be a factor in the CAS decision, it would have to adjudicate that RD had not applied sufficient weight to its apportionment of blame - which is not the basis of Rossi's case.

I see Rossi on a hiding to nothing here.

As a personal opinion, I would add that I believe that Rossi is taking a high-stakes gamble with his future status.

If his appeal is successful and he wins the WC, there will always be a question as to whether he was entitled to it.

If he took the penalty and lost the WC, I think his 'story' would forever be enshrined as having been robbed of a 10th title in 2015.

If he took the penalty and WON the WC, then he would be elevated even further in legend than he already commands, from winning through superlative ability even in the face of a united front determined to deny him his success. Even in the face of having made a bad decision in one of eighteen races.

I don't believe that Rossi has thought this one through. He has more future kudos available to him - no matter what the outcome - by taking the RD decision on the chin and fighting to the last than throwing lawyers at the issue.

He did not win 9 titles thanks to lawyers. I cannot imagine why he would turn to others to bring him results, when he has proven so fabulously capable of creating everything he has achieved by his own ability. As Jerry Burgess said: 'this is not the Rossi I know'. ( )

I truly don't understand the position where people insist that Rossi should just man up and accept the penalty.

Given what is at stake and the controversial nature of the incident, he would be stupid not to use every legal mean at his disposal to get the decision overturned.

There is an appeal exactly for this type of situation!

In addition, I don't see why there would not be a stay since the incidents precisely involved a rider competing for the championship and a rider that isn't.

Therefore, the injustice would be far greater if a wrong decision was to impact this year's championship than if a stay was to postpone its enforcement to next season even if the decision is upheld.

In other words, Jorge Lorenzo had nothing to do with this incident and there is no specific reason why it should benefit him in the championship.

If the clash had been betweeb Rossi and Lorenzo, it would be a different matter.

Dennis, I have a question for you. Doesn't Marquez's bike (like other bikes) have a camera inside the fairing pointing to his right hand? Wouldn't it be interesting to see that video? Is there any way to see it? Maybe that multiangle system on
(I do realize that's actually three questions)

P.S.: I'm a fan of yours, very happy that Kenny is doing better.

I can answer that. Despite the amazing array of camera angles available from MotoGP, Dorna's resources are limited. They simply can't handle all of the possible camera streams they would like to. Cameras are fitted to bikes in one session, and not in another, as you can see with the 360 leaning cameras, which are sometimes fitted, and sometimes not.

The camera showing Marquez' throttle and brake may not have been fitted during the race. If it was, I would have expected the footage to have emerged. Dorna would not pass up the chance of getting more money by showing that footage as well. 

Hi Dennis,
Thanks for your input...n glad to hear Kenny's on the mend...
Like you say, that the decision was based on what vision or info RD had available, n made the decision they be it.
As other commenters have noted, there may well be "blame" apportioned on both parties.
The thing that gets me, is that one 'incident' has become a major impediment to an impartial understanding of what goes on 'on track...n then the lawyers take over.
How would such incidents been handled in years past???...the likes of Gardner, Lawson, Doohan, Schwantz, Kocinski etc., would they have some 'verbal fisticuffs' n a wee bit of agro for a while, n then the next race it was back to the racing???...or maybe even copped that it didn't go their way this time, but the karma bus will come around??
That VR has gone to the CAS is a BIG call, n as has been seen in the past, the time it takes, n sometimes the "result' has been less than clear, where does that leave the result of the 2015 WC??? Forever in doubt, with an asterisk, or was it truly the result that reflected what "actually" happened on track??
To me, it seems the desire for VR to get #10 overrides his legitimate status as one of "the best ever".
Have been watching GP's for longer than I care to admit, but that was the maybe the most blatant move I have seen since Capirex took out Harada in their final confrontation, all those years ago.
The respect n admiration of Vale since that first WC he took out at PI all those years ago, has been dimmed a little, but I hope he can "man up' n cop the punishment, n do what he does best from the back of the grid in Valencia.
Mind you, JL99 has had a chequered time of it himself as "Loopy Lorenzo", but he's 'done the crime, done the time' n made good with his opportunities.
I'd like to think Vale is man enough to do the same.

I'd never heard of CAS until now and I hope never to hear of it again after this.

Race Prediction: I could be naive and think that Marquez will feel like he has made his point to Rossi and allow everyone's race pace to dictate the race result and title - but I'm not.

Rossi only need finish directly behind Lorenzo to claim the title but I predict that one Marq Marquez will be camped there ... waiting. If Rossi wants the title, he will have to go through (perhaps literally as well as figuratively) Marquez.

Should Rossi win his stay of execution until Qatar 2016 or find a way through the entire grid to catch Marquez on track, Sepang will have been a simple palate cleansing hors d'oeuvre for a chin-high pile of steaming testosterone laden stupidity at Valencia.

I like it. He believes this has been going on, the "dirty game." He is sticking to his belief. Why back down? Because this or that person says so? He has always walked to the beat of his own drum. It's what got him this far in life. He believes some dirty business has been going on, on that race track. From my perspective, he has a case for that. There is enough evidence to put it in the middle somewhere between his take on it compared to Marc, and maybe even Jorge. Jorge lit up the mic, post race, at Sepang, like it was Fireworks on NYE. The response to the journalist asking him about the yellow flag was unforgettable.

He block passed Marc and slowed down. Overhead shot still shows some track to Marc's left and in front. And I saw some passes Marc put in that looked like he was trying to clip Rossi's front tire. If someone didn't intervene in that someone was going to get hurt, seriously hurt. I do believe that, hurt or worse.

I haven't lost any respect for the man I've gained some more. He believes in himself. Even if you don't. People doubted him just a few short years ago, wrote him off. He didn't believe that or he would have quit. Same as today, he doesn't believe Marc's side of the story, again he believes in himself. The announcers said he kicked Marc Marquez, Jorge made the same mistake in that belief, and Marc is still saying he was kicked. It's all a mess but he believes his version and isn't backing down to anyone. A whole lot of rider support among different classes as well. I don't know if he is right, wasn't me on the track, but if he had believed other versions of his riding just a few short years ago he wouldn't even be riding in their championship today.

I only know one thing for sure, for absolute certain. Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo sure won't like this at all. I'm sure lots of wringing of the hands and cussing in Spanish among their respective circles. And I think that is Rossi's intent, especially after what he says about the Alzamora incident. He believes they stirred the shit so I hear Tony Montana saying "Okay.............". The press and scrutiny on all of it had to be thought about prior to the decision and he is good with it. I might say desperate man like I've read other people write, but he has another year on his contract and they are on Michelins next year with more fuel. I don't think he'd be racing next year if he didn't believe in himself to have a shot at that trophy. Rossi's belief in himself has been the constant over two decades with many motorcycles passing, in multiple classes, multiple displacements, a nice handful of manufacturers, across multiple generations, age, a crew chief, a lot. I do not know what that kind of motivation, self belief, and will feels race these damn things for twenty years at the highest of levels. He does, and he is doing his version of let justice be done though the heavens fall. He's at the casino, at a table, with a stack of chips he has built for decades and is betting on himself, same as it ever was.

Whatever happens Valencia will go down in the history of motorcycle racing. Every press conference, every practice session, every interview, qualifying session, and the race. If you wanted a showdown of epic proportions, well it might not be way you wanted it but it's going to happen. Buckle Up.

And very shortly after they'll be on Michelins, with a different fuel load, and different ECU algorithms, testing. The never ending merry go round ;)

And was entitled to try to maximise hi position on track. That's racing and Rossi brought any petulance on himself with his complaints about Phillip Island...
Those two seconds he gave up to put Marc in that position probably guaranteed he couldn't catch Jorge anyway.
Rossi spat the dummy and blew it... He should be a man and accept the penalty and then do a Marquez and come first or second from the back.

Not every element of a sporting competition can be defined within a set of rules. I suspect this is why it's called 'sport'.

If the court of arbitration will apply not only the FIM/MotoGP rules, but broader aspects of sporting behaviour, I think it's something that is sorely needed in this case. Take away sportsmanship and boil it all down to interpretation of a 'set of rules' and all you're left with is a contest.

Thank you Mr Noyes. It is interesting that the data for both bikes will be available to Rossi. Might come in handy in 2016. I presume that he would have access to previous race data too, for comparison purposes as to whether MM's style changed.
I hope Yamaha support the analysis (should be interesting for them). MM may yet come to regret his actions, as he seems to act and speak as if he was the totally innocent injured party and may be shown not to be. The consequences may well extend beyond this case too, if his riding style and HRC's technology becomes known to their competitors.
For me, MM had the choice to stay clear (sensible, and probably as quick as any other choice). He chose not to, and to lean on Rossi in a way that caused him to fall. Perhaps there was more red mist than was first realised - not just VR's.

Race direction have not said, to my knowledge, that the previous point VR had collected was taken account of. If they didn't, that does raise the issue that the consequences of their decision was substantially more severe than a simple 3 point penalty. That, clearly, has the potential to affect the outcome of the WC and if anyone says that anything else could be more important in the sport (participant health notwithstanding), then I would be a little surprised.

It seems Rossi has a case and, if he can start where he qualifies, the final race of the championship season could yet be a fair battle.


But many people really aren't grasping VR's penalty...

It's like your UK driving licence... (which I appreciate many of you won't have)

Let's say you get caught driving without insurance, you get 9 points

Then later you get caught driving at 34mph in a 30 zone

You get another 3 points and *bam* you're on a 6 month ban for totting up. (in the UK 12 pts = 6 month driving ban)

But you didn't just get banned for 6 months for doing 4mph over the speed limit, you're being hit with a cumulative penalty.

That's what's happened to Rossi. (1 existent point + 3 at SIC)

He was never 'sentenced' to starting last at Valencia, that's just the net result...

...if the CAS issue a stay of the implementation of the 3 points, then later decide that he does indeed deserve his points, he'll start last at Qatar (or even later if they take longer to decide)

As I understand it (....) as far as the rules are concerned, it's the same punishment. The implications of starting last at Valencia, compared to say Qatar, are purely peripheral.

Hello, i have just registered here, but i read this blog from some time. I found it to be more objective then other sites.
So, speaking objectively and without passion, are the rules of MotoGP clear enough, or open to interpretation ? We all have seen that VR's foot moved after it was hit by MM's head so i found it hard to prove that it was with intention. The same with the pushing wide of MM by VR. As MM's teammate DP has said, the rider that has the interior can chose his own path. VR went wide in that corner, so what? The track was quite wide in that place and was a lot room for maneuver, MM could just have backed off, brake and try again later. Can we assume that if it wasn't for VR's statements in Philip Island and the looks that he threw at MM during the Sepang race, the fell of MM could have been judged as racing incident ? Sorry for eventual spelling or expression mistakes, english is not my native language.

Grey Area is what we have here.

I also think that if Rossi did nothing differently, but Marc rolled off and cut underneath him or just ran really wide then we wouldn't be discussing it as it would have been deemed a racing incident.

As Mr Noyes has alluded to, the rules don't appear to be very clear here as it appears the outcome of any maneuver has a very large say as to whether it's deemed to be acceptable or not.


I really don't care who wins this championship anymore. As far as I'm concerned, none of the two contenders have shown the spirit that I hoped they had.

But maybe it was never there in the first place. Maybe, the possibility to get something precious in competition with others just brings out the worst in us.

I think what's disappointing me as well is that none of the three - Marquez, Lorenzo, Rossi - seem to be enjoying this anymore. I guess it's too late for fun this season.

Whatever, I'm just disappointed in all of them.

'When engaging at close quarters, it is expected that competitors will be free to ride and defend their position to the full extent of theirs and the bike's capabilities, within the bounds of safety, fairness and sportsmanship.

"A rider shall not slow his/her pace or alter position to disrupt another rider unless defending his/her own position, and in doing so shall not intentionally give rise to a dangerous or unfair situation. For example, a rider may exert pressure on a contesting rider's track position, riding line or pace, but shall not deliberately 'run another rider wide' to the extent that the second rider has no alternative but to 'run off', lose control of the bike, become involved in contact or crash.

"A rider shall not deliberately 'slow the pace' or disrupt another rider to let a rider or group ahead get away, or let another group/rider catch up.

"Officials shall be entitled to examine lap times, bike data, video and any other available information to make a determination whether a competitor has ridden in breach of letter or spirit the above."

I'm aiming this both at the behaviour of Marquez and of Rossi - have I covered it all??

in a racing sense until MM turned in, which he didn't have to do. Until that point there was no unusual contact. neither was right in principle, but to severely punish one (potentially take away world championship) and let the other off relatively free (he did have a DNF) is not proportional to the actions of both, when the events leading up to the incident are taken account of. This is confirmed by an expert (Webb) stating that they knew MM was acting unfairly, albeit within the rules. VR's action has only been deemed contrary to the rules by a relatively vague interpretation, which is somewhat subjective.