CAS Rejects Valentino Rossi's Request To Suspend Penalty: Will Start From Back Of Grid At Valencia

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has rejected Valentino Rossi's request for a stay of his penalty, given to him at Sepang. The 3-point penalty, handed to him at Sepang for the incident he was involved in with Marc Marquez, means he will start from the back of the grid for the final race of the season at Valencia.

Rossi will still be entitled to participate in Q2, if he finishes in the top ten after the three sessions of free practice, but the position he secures in Q2 will not count for his grid position. Everyone who qualifies behind him will be moved forward one position on the grid.

The CAS ruling is only on Rossi's request to have the penalty suspended for Valencia. The full case will still be heard in front of the panel of arbitration, but that will still take between six and twelve months, and will have no impact on the outcome of the the 2015 championship. It also means that Rossi has now served his penalty, and he will not have to serve it again after the hearing has completed.

The FIM press release on the penalty appears below:

FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix

CAS dismisses request by Valentino Rossi for stay of execution of FIM Stewards’ decision

On 4 November 2015, a preliminary hearing was held at the headquarters of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne in the matter Valentino Rossi v. the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme. The FIM was represented by its Legal Director, Mr Richard Perret.

Following the hearing, the CAS issued an Order dismissing the application for a stay filed by Mr Rossi concerning the decision rendered on 25 October 2015 by the FIM Stewards (see Order attached).

The CAS ruling on the request for stay of execution does not prejudge the final award on the merits of the case.

In appealing to the CAS against the decision of the FIM Stewards, Mr Rossi seeks annulment or modification of the FIM Stewards’ decision taken at the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang, in which the FIM Stewards confirmed the 3 penalty points awarded by the Race Direction to Mr Rossi following an incident on Turn 14.

The FIM takes note of the ruling of the CAS.

As a consequence of this ruling, at the Gran Premi de la Comunitat Valenciana, last race of the FIM World Championship Grand Prix, Mr Rossi will start from the last position on the Grid.

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Will be interesting. I'm assuming he would only work on race setup. If he doesn't get caught up in traffic there's no reason why he couldn't end up fourth, which means Lorenzo needs to beat the Hondas

Somebody anything about a special 1 race high performance engine for VR46 and starting from pitlane coming sunday?

Right! This is the first step in making the last race more interesting. Now, the second step should happen tomorrow: JL will crash and broke the collarbone...Go to dr. Mir, have surgery, come back and start the race from the first 10...
Now seriously speaking: the championship is done!

I assumed they were going to grant him the stay for the penalty.

Should be an interesting 1st corner w/ Rossi trying to storm past the slower bikes.

If the old man still wins the championship after this... It is going to be EPIC.

Well, that's pretty much it then, concerning Rossi's title chances. Under normal conditions, In this field of fast riders and relatively similar machinery it will be very difficult to even get a 6th-place finish, which will probably be the minimum Rossi needs, with Lorenzo an almost certain top-3.
Especially from 10th place onwards it will be a tough job, once he gets there. He can only hope Pedrosa wins it and Iannone takes second place (or the other way around), because I don't see anybody else getting in front of Lorenzo. Yeah, Marquez could, but we all know what he will do if Rossi gets up to 6th...

So Marquez gets what he wanted, and he gets away with his very obvious disturbing and risky overtaking actions at Sepang by virtue of himself falling off after turning into Rossi. Well played, I have to admit.

The only plus side of this ruling by CAS: if Rossi clinches the title now after all, there will be no annoying discussions afterwards.

Inflammatory words Powervalve58. I'm not going to catalogue the errors - maybe you should read David's post of this morning. Let's leave the craziness to one or more of the riders...

Considering his position and the total mess he has contributed to, he might have to go flat out on Sunday. Dropping backwards if Rossi climb too high is probably not an option. The only option of doing his best would be to dump the bike, but even that will be very risky.

I'm seriously worried that we will see some very ugly behavior from fans this weekend. Don't rule out things being thrown at MM.
The grand stand is directly above the pit-boxes isn't it? That might be a too big of an opportunity. This weekend will have some ugly event me think.


You mention that the final ruling of the CAS will have no bearing on the 2015 championship, and I believe you, but out of curiosity: what would happen if Rossi loses the championship but later wins his case at CAS?

Thanks in advance,

In the scenario that CAS had said yes Rossi's request to delay the penalty, VR won the title at Valencia and then they upheld that VR had been in the wrong at Malaysia it would have left a stain on this (& his) championship.

I hope CAS don't change the outcome of the RD penalty at any point in the future as whoever win this championship will have it tainted otherwise.

This could be VR's greatest title win, and he's done it the NH '06 way (podium, podium, podium with the odd win thrown in)...

Bottom line is: VR did do wrong at Malaysia, RD did penalise him, let the racing do the talking from here on in.

Given that he's starting from last, does this open the possibility for Rossi to use a one-off engine? He's been complaining about power for a while now, and I'm guessing his style is incrementally harder on an engine than Lorenzo's (in addition to weight etc. - Lorenzo brakes and accelerates just a little bit less, for the most part).

He was ONE solitary kilogram of extra weight from Lorenzo. 1kg on a 220+ kg bike (including rider) moving at 200kph+ speeds has no impact what so ever.

If Rossi takes a new engine, he will have to start from the pitlane if he takes a new engine. It's not necessary, as per Alex Briggs on twitter :

As for the one-off engine, factory teams are locked into an engine spec at the start of the year and the only changes possible are in the software. The benefit from such changes would be minor at best, and wouldn't provide nearly enough benefit to compensate for a pitlane start.

The ruling from CAS is a win for motor cycle racing as a whole. I'm neither a Rossi or a Marquez fan, I am a big fan of motor cycle racing and this is a good outcome for the sport.

Well I guess that means that Rossi gets 6 sessions just to focus on race set-up / race pace.
It could very well make him a weapon come Sunday afternoon....

All rossi need to do is concentrate on race setup from friday onward and make it to q2... Hope for a great race for rossi with calm, clinical attack of the doctor and with his balls all out... Iostoconvale forzavale...

And in a lot of ways I'm glad the penalty is sticking. I totally disagree with the penalty but now Rossi can win the championship with no shadow of suspicion of back room shenanigans.

I read a comment in the Cycle News letters that summed it up perfectly.

"If Lorenzo wants to win the championship with dignity, he should line up on the back row with Rossi."

Given Lorenzo's legal maneuvers this week I don't see this happening.

That would be as good as GIVING the championship to VR46. The points difference that JL needs to get on VR would never be achieved with anything other than a top 3 finish.

... but to suggest Lorenzo should start at the back to make it a "dignified" win, that's ridiculous!

Rossi has the talent, desire & the machine barnstorm to a championship winning position. Although I'm anything but a Rossi fan-boy, I will be rooting for the old dog this Sunday.

If he manages it, it will be the most epic of championships for him. And no one will be able to say boo about it as far as Valencia is concerned.

(assuming there is not another dust-up on his way through the field)

... in other words, Lorenzo should penalise himself for Rossi's mistakes? Yeah, brilliant idea. I'm sure it seems perfectly logical in the world that revolves around Rossi. But believe it or not, that's is not this world.

On average the riders running between 10th and 12th at Valencia over the last 13 years (since the start of MotoGP) have crossed the line between 3.2 and 3.5 seconds from the leaders. I am sure Rossi will pick off half the grid on the first lap, perhaps with a bit of what in baseball we call "defensive indifference" (when a runner takes a base but is not awarded a steal because the other team didn't care) on the part of many downfield riders. When he started next to last in Qatar en 2003 he was up to fifth by the end of lap one.

If Honda riders Marquez and Pedrosa finish first and second, as Honda have stated as their goal, that leaves third as a best place for Jorge. If third is the best Jorge can do, Valentino can take the title by finishing sixth.

If Lorenzo is second then Rossi has to be third, a much bigger ask. Even if Lorenzo wins he can be beaten in the title chase if Rossi finished second.

Watch on lap one how many riders toward the bike choose to stay above the apex...some because they want to be sure they do not obstruct Valentino and others who do not want to get knocked wide.

Starting a highly motivated rider from the back row creates, inevitably, a dangerous situation.

As an average over the last 13 years at Valencia (leaving out atypical 2012) the rider who finishes third is about 8-9 seconds back but fourth is over 12 seconds back.

If Jorge is first or second he should be crowned World Champion, but of he is third the battle for the title will go through the 2 factory Ducati, the two satellite Yams, Crutchlow and maybe Redding...with the likes of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinalles and maybe Hernandez, Barbara etc, each representing a challenge along the way.

Dorna will want to split screen frequently to keep Rossi in sight while following the leaders.

Let's hope this one ended without the "incident under investigation" crawl across the bottom to the screen, but don't count Rossi out. Remember Marquez actually won at Valencia in Moto2 starting dead last because of a penalty.

I agree I was a bit too pessimistic about Rossi's chances in my post above. Yes, he could make up a lot of places on the first lap, where overtaking may be just a bit easier that normal because of riders not really going to defend position too fiercely against someone who is obviously going to get past quickly anyway. I did not take that into account.
Also, of course 6th place is achievable. I was focussing on that 6th a bit too much because I know that is the essential position to reach for him to have a realistic shot at the title. It's 4th that I think is the best he realistically can do (without any crashing front runners), which means that Lorenzo will be pretty safe in 1st or 2nd, like you're suggesting too.

Then again, stranger things have happened this season... It might rain. It might be cold. Some riders may crash. Jorge might get nervous. Rossi might be rising above himself by sheer motivation. Then all logical reasoning may prove not valid anymore.
We could have a cracker of a race. For sure it's already a legendary one.

Rossi was judged by his peers, and the judgement was just and fair. Now a legal body has looked at it and upheld the judgement.

For those who are still feel that Rossi's act of running Marc off the track was not a violation of the rules, and who threaten to take their money and loyalty elsewhere, my a I suggest you start following F1.

Looking forward to the races this weekend, where we will have two new champions crowned.

I am most disappointed by these so-called "fans" of Grand Prix motorcycle racing. What a bunch of whack-jobs that have come out of the shadows since this all began. A true fan is impartial, and just loves the sport in its purity; and when they see a wrong action, they judge it as wrong regardless of who perpetrated the act. We all have personal favorites, this is normal, but there is a big difference between being a 'fan' of any one particular rider or team, and being a 'fanatic'. If a rider's actions taint the sport as a whole, then it must be seen as wrong (if it taints, then this is due to the fact that it is wrong, after all) and this must uphold regardless of all personal biases and opinions. Wrong is wrong, and a fan will call it such. But a fanatic will be blind to any and all reason and rationality, and will still (blindly) uphold their allegiances regardless of anything else (like unbiased rational evaluation processes and sober second thoughts - which we are all capable of). Why do they continue with their cries for blood? Because they are fanatical, and this is how fanatics behave - blind to reason and ruled only by their passions and (out of control) emotions. All guilty persons, please stop making this just one big exercise in Mob Mentality 101. Stop pulling us all back into the dark ages. It's disgraceful - and wrong.

In the reply above I meant to say that riders over the last 13 years (MotoGP era) running between 10th and 12th have crossed the line at THE END OF THE FIRST LAP, on an average of 3.2 to 3.5 seconds behind the leaders. I had a computer crash with the data on the average gap between first and third and first and sixth over the last 13 years (excluding 2012,a crazy race) but I seem to remember those numbers being from 8-9 secs to 12-13 secs, Maybe some ambitious soul would run that data again (David?) because I'm fed up with my computer.

But a have no doubt that Rossi can pass 10 to 12 rideres on lap one...unless he goes down in the process. This promises (threatens) to be an unforgettable first lap of what may also be an unforgettable race.

Each time I expect a fantastic race, I'm disappointed.
So let's hope a boring race, with Lorenzo alone in front, Rossi stuck in 9th with Crutchlow .... ;)


When Vale rode from back to 5th at Qatar 2003 (then fell off) he was much younger rider, maybe at his prime. Will be a lot more difficult now. But he should gain, barring accidents, a lot of places in first 2 laps but it will be not so easy after that. Strangely the pressure is now more on Lorenzo than Rossi. Rossi knows he just has to give it his all. Jorge will be more nervous and could make a mistake. Anything can happen. Last year Vale stared from pole and finished 2nd. Lorenzo started from 4th and was outside the top 20 when he retired as he wrongly came in for wet tyres.
If Vale wins I think everyone will say he deserves it, except Marquez, Jorge, Livio, Alex Marquez, Da Marquez, Casey, Sete.
I hope Vale gets some of his youth back and puts in memorable performance that wins the title. And I hope Danny can have trouble free ride in Moto 3.

Rossi in his prime = no real dramas... Rossi of this year, I fear the title will elude him, and we the fans will be denied a true show down.

That said, Valencia does like to offer up surprises... first lap 2011 anyone?

Let me stress though - I'M NOT WISHING THAT TOO HAPPEN

But crazy crap does happen.

This'll be 2 out of 3 of JL's titles where the naysayers say, 'ah but Rossi was incapacitated'

I doubt JL will care :)

It sucks that this happened, especially the season that Rossi put together this year. He was the most consistent rider this year, without a doubt, on the podium all but two races. Hopefully he and crew can find a perfect set-up for Sundays race, he does not have to worry about qualifying, just race set-up. I have faith that he will slice through the crowd and find himself in great position. Its unfortunate, but things happen. GO ROSSI!

Let's see a Head-to-Head battle with Jorge and Rossi... at the start of the race ROW-2 to the Last Row should part like the Red Sea so that Rossi can get to the front or wherever Jorge is at! All the riders should agree to stay out of their fight and let Rossi pass before going into Turn-1. Then let the battle commence from that point forward! May the Best Rider Win the title!

"If Lorenzo wants to win the championship with dignity, he should line up on the back row with Rossi."Given Lorenzo's legal maneuvers this week I don't see this happening."
If Rossi was prepared to give up his 7 point lead maybe Lorenzo would otherwise why would he.

In its decision the CAS had to deal with the concept of "irreparable harm". Last Sunday MM was confronted with the possibility of irreparable harm by everyone's favorite egomaniac VR. If anyone intentionally and purposefully runs a fellow competitor off the racetrack the punishment should be severe. The punishment should not be postponed until a date when it would be meaningless.

Yes, the championship matters but courting disaster and terrible injury to another competitor can not be permitted. The video seems pretty clear, VR is looking over at MM as he slowly but surely squeezed MM off of the course. Sure, MM could have slowed up and ridden off of the course, but VR was at a speed where he could have easily moved over. He was at that reduced speed precisely because he had stopped racing and instead was intending to eliminate any further competition from MM. Clearly VR knew that he wasn't going to beat MM by riding faster so he pursued a different strategy.

I have lost a vast amount of respect for VR as a result of this incident. Using other competitors as a berm as both MM and VR have done in the past is difficult to condone but at least these incidents occurred because the riders were racing...going as fast as they could...these were actual racing incidents...slowing up to run a guy off the course is not a racing incident.

The verdict is what it is. However, unless VR can make a huge charge on lap one and avoid falling off or being taken out in the process this promises to be a hugely unbefitting end to what up until Sepang had been an amazing and nail biting championship. Even if VR does charge and keep us all guessing about who will win the championship, injecting some excitement into Sunday, I suspect many will still have that "knot" in their stomach about how events have unfolded over the last few weeks. I also really hope the fans can behave like humans even though everyone is entitled to their views and feelings.

David - I saw elsewhere that Honda are withholding the data from Sepang. Do you know if they released it to CAS or FIM/Dorna? Do you know what their reasons for withholding it are? Do you know if they still plan to release it? Whilst it could be related to concern about other teams having access to their data I can't help wondering whether it either shows that certain things that have been claimed did not happen (e.g. "kick-gate") or that something did happen that they would rather we did not know about (e.g. brake checks mid-corner, MM leaning in or accelerating into VR before the crash etc.)? I just don't buy the "we don't want to pour more fuel on the fire...we don't want to look like we're trying to influence the outcome of CAS" line. CAS has ruled so they can now release the data?

Where did you read that? I ask because in Honda's official press release that was published here a couple of days ago, Shuhei Nakamoto stated: "The data acquisition from Marc’s bike is available if anybody from Dorna, the FIM or media want to check.”

I am not a major fan of either rider, I just try to imagine what would the opinion be like if it happened at my local club where there isn't multiple camera shots and data streams to make over-analysed deductions that rely on silly assumptions.

You can do it to death. Still proves nothing, but allows one to make deductions based on their existing opinion.

I wonder if Lorenzo (or Rossi) would be willing to let Rossi trade 3 bad driving points for 3 championship points. That way Rossi's lead would be 4 championship points, and he could start from where he qualifies.

I bet both riders would take that deal... Better what if than the back row for Lorenzo scenario.

The person who has got off scot free is Alzamora not once has been asked to explain why he told Valentino about Marc and his alledged anger post Assen etc .Imho he is the one who has caused the all the trouble ! If he didn't tell Valentino why hasn't he come out and denied he told him ?

While I do agree that rossi deserved a penalty for the sepang incident I can't help but be a little disappointed by this end result.
Imagine if rossi had got an immediate penalty (ride through) at sepang. In all likelihood him and Lorenzo would have lined up in Valencia on almost equal points (my thinking is vale would still lead by 1 point) and we would have the truly epic end that this championship deserves.
While it would be truly amazing if rossi could win from the back, I think that it is very unlikely barring a mistake from Lorenzo, and personally I would rather enjoy a championship decided on pure speed and racecraft in the final race rather than mistakes and penalties

I still find it surprising how many of you take the moral high-ground and still justify a penalty that would like it cost a man a year of work down the drain (given how the circumstances went down), let's forget about names VR MM JL whatever . Shouldn't have come to this. The penalty imposed is totally disproportionate to the circumstances.