Valentino Rossi Withdraws Appeal Against Sepang Penalty, Case Now Formally Closed

Valentino Rossi has formally withdrawn his appeal against the three penalty points handed down to him in the clash at Sepang. The Italian had originally appealed the three points handed down by Race Direction for the incident with Marc Marquez at Turn 14 at Sepang, first to the FIM Stewards, and after the FIM Stewards had rejected his appeal, to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

After filing the appeal to the CAS, Rossi then filed an appeal for a stay of the three-point penalty. If that stay had been granted, then Rossi would not have had to start from the back of the grid at Valencia. However, Rossi's request for a stay was rejected, and Rossi was left at the back of the grid. Finishing fourth meant he lost the 2015 MotoGP title to his Movistar Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo.

With the 2015 MotoGP title settled, Ross must have felt there was no point in continuing with the appeal. Even if the CAS ruled in Rossi's favor, all they could have done is reduced the number of penalty points he had been awarded. That would not have had a material outcome on the 2015 title, and given Rossi's otherwise near-impeccable record, it is unlikely to have an outcome in 2016.

Rossi still has four penalty points to his name, one picked up at Misano for cruising on the racing line, plus the three from Misano for the breach of section 1.21.2 of the FIM Grand Prix regulations. Should he incur another three points before mid-September 2016, he could be forced to start from pit lane. That, however, remains unlikely.

With the withdrawal of his appeal, Rossi's case against Race Direction is now closed, and a line can be placed under the 2015 MotoGP championship. The debate will no doubt continue among fans and media, but as far as the organizers of the sport are concerned, and the individuals involved, the affair is over and done with.

The press release issued by the Court of Arbitration for Sport is below:

Tribunal Arbitral du Sport - Court of Arbitration for Sport


Lausanne, 10 December 2015 – Valentino Rossi has withdrawn the appeal filed at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the FIM Stewards’ decision to impose 3 penalty points on his record following an incident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.

In his appeal to the CAS, Mr Rossi sought the annulment of the penalty, or at least a reduction from 3 points to 1, since on the basis of the FIM Regulations, a rider with 4 penalty points must start the next race from last grid position. Together with his appeal, Mr Rossi 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 final event of the season which was held in Valencia/Spain on 6-8 November 2015.

On 5 November 2015, the Sole Arbitrator appointed by mutual agreement of the parties, Prof. Ulrich Haas (Germany), dismissed Valentino Rossi’s request to stay the execution of the challenged decision. The Sole Arbitrator found that the conditions to grant the stay were not met, and accordingly, Valentino Rossi began the Valencia race from the last grid position.

Mr Rossi has now informed the CAS that he does not wish to continue with his appeal. Accordingly, the arbitration procedure has been terminated and the FIM decision will continue to remain in force.

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-- can we all move on now?
If Valentino has decided to withdraw his appeal and accept things as they stand then so should everyone else!

2015 is over and done and now VR himself has draw a line under it!

Time for everyone else to do the same!

I'm pretty sure Rossi withdrawing the appeal does not mean he thinks the penalty was justified after all. It's just that the whole purpose of the appeal was to get the chance to fight for the title in Valencia in a normal way, and not having to start from the last place on the grid. Whatever the outcome of the appeal would be, he's not getting the 2015 world title anymore, so the damage is already done. The reason he is withdrawing the appeal now is that he does not want to have this issue distracting him during next season. It's pointless.

Exactly. I don't think he ever cared about winning the appeal, only delaying the penalty for the title. Having the penalty overturned some time next year would of just been a nice vindication, if that.

he is 1 point away from another back of grid start over the tail end of 2016.

True that through mid-sept Rossi is 3 points away from a Pit lane start, but after that his points will drop from 4 back to 3 when 365 days after receiving that single point at Missano has passed.

Had he pursued this appeal and successeded in getting the 3 points at Sepang Reduced to one, then he could have been looking at 2 points through Missano for a back of grid start and 3 thereafter until Sepang and then back to zero.

The way the rules are written is that automatic penalties incur when points reach certain level. They do not differentiate whether your total was above a penalty threshold and then falls down and goes back up.

So basically riders getting a bunch of single point penalties who eventually cross a penalty threshold will find themselves flirting with repeating the same penalty multiple times as points expire and new ones are earned.

The interesting thing about this is at some point it makes sense to get more points before your old ones expire. That way you have a larger 3 point bridge to cross before serving a worse penalty versus being 1 or 2 points away from a repeate penalty as your points expire.

One of the rule changes to be made over the winter is to deal with points that lapse, for precisely this reason. It will be changed so that you cannot serve the same penalty twice. If Rossi gets 4 points again, he won't start from the back of the grid. Next penalty he could serve is a pit lane start.

Dude, you practically live in the comments section of this site. You clearly enjoy the results of David's time and effort, why not support his work? Poof! No more comments delay...

That's a spiffy Site Supporter badge you got there, Motoshrink.

I'll bet he didn't think that point for balking Lorenzo during quals at Misano was anything to worry about. Dangerous not to appeal. Perhaps he doesn't think he will win. If he loses, it removes the victim card from being in play...

That one point he got at misano doesn't actually matter one bit... There is no way FIM would let rossi go untouched at Valencia. Had there been no misano point, they would've given him 4 points at sepang, and given the infraction(I totally believe Marc was playing and he deserved that, and he shouldn't have got involved with Rossi) rossi is said to have done, 4 points wouldn't be unfair in the eyes ofethe world. So outcome would remain the same.. And quite frankly FIM would not Have any other option other than to give 4 point. Think about all that criticism they would get if rossi had just one point less that needed for a serious penalty? So no misano doesn't matter...

Let us hope they can all move on and see a great 2016 season with more riders and manufacturers fighting it out for regular podiums.
I was reflecting on Rossi's complaints about Marquez not putting a lunge on Lorenzo in Valencia.
It reminded me much of a battle for the win which involved Rossi many years back at Phillip Island.
I think it was 2009 against Stoner.
Sure, the title situation was different, but the reality on the day was the same. Rossi could not get past, much as Marquez could not pass Lorenzo without dumping them both in the kitty litter.
I hope Rossi has put that notion out of his head along with the appeal.

I've been watching old races from the 2001 to 2010 period recently, to while away the time until 2016 starts, and it's interesting how you can remember things so differently a few years down the line. For instance I always thought the corkscrew incident at THAT race at Laguna was way into the race when in fact it was after only 3 or 4 laps. And I'd completely forgotten that horrendous high side of Lorenzo's. What I did remember correctly though was some very hard, but in my view fair, racing at the front. Block passes galore, lots of "let's play chicken", and enough testosterone to keep the whole of Soho busy for a night.

I think 2015 will look something like that in years to come. Rutting stags going at it for all they were worth, yielding for the most part some fantastic racing. The rest was just noise, to be forgotten in time.

Shouldn't the penalty points be reset at the end of the season? Offcourse... Had rossi's appeal won, and later it was found that it was rossi's fault, he would've started out from back at Qatar 2016. But that didn't happen, meaning rossi got his penalty for the 4 penalty points he incurred during the season in that season itself. So shouldn't he start 2016 with 0 penalty point as everyone else? Or is this penalty point thing sticky forever? 4 points in a season, 4 points in second... And 2 in 3rd season and he is banned from next race? (I presume 10 points equates a ban)... That seems absurd... So what's the whole idea behind this? Is there any other rider who takes his 2015 penalty points through winter break to 2016?

In their first iteration, penalty points did indeed reset at the end of the year. The problem with this is that if you're relying on the penalty points as the actual deterrent, it leaves it wide open in the last round to do whatever you like since no application of points is going to matter. Presumably that's why it was changed in the 2nd year.
In many ways I prefer the old system, immediate black flag, end of story, go throw your helmet around your motorhome. :D

I agree that points should be cancelled once a penalty has been served. That's how justice works in any democracy isn't it? To be punished again after a minor misdemeanour seems perverse and will only get in the way of all-out racing (unless the points are only awarded for extreme offences, which seems to run counter to the idea of accumulating 'warnings'.)

It's nice to have some exclusivity for being a supporter......make David's Christmas a good one by becoming one - then you can comment all you like, and we all get to keep his premium-quality reporting flowing.

Anyone else find it ironic that it is Rossi that fell foul to the system specifically put in place to curtail Marquez? No, just me?

I find it a stupid system anyway and it is pretty much the cause of the drama that unfolded. Rossi should have immediately gotten a black flag during the race and it would have been done. By letting it fester Race Control and Dorna sowed the seeds for the following ridiculousness and the worst thing is they probably enjoyed it too.

Anyway I'm glad Rossi made this decision. And I also agree with Lilyvani, very soon people will look back at this and wonder why all the drama happened in the first place. When looking back at the facts everything is pretty clear. I don't think it will take too long before we look back at the battles at PI and Sepang and see them for what they are, hard and fair racing with one guy going too far and getting penalized for it.

i don't know how relevant this is but anyway, when you loose points on your licence for doing the littlest thing wrong it takes 3 years to get those points back as a deterrent to stop you doing it again, if they were reset every year image what you could get away with every year. Same applies for racing you could take someone out every year at the end, knowing your points will be reset and no penalty to worry about the following year. I know that's extreme thinking but a deterrent is a deterrent and will make people think a bit before they brain snap. Just a thought.

Racers go out knowing and accepting there is a risk. Driving on the road is not the same. There is a risk, but people don't like to acknowledge it, and are quick to react when it strikes.

There's also the thought about career lengths. MM has only been in motogp for three years, he's a double world champ and he could still be getting penalised for his moto2 races under your scheme. VR has had a long career, but many riders only get a few years on the class, and think of how this would affect a rider's ability to progress in the classes - no team wants to get a rider who might end up getting a pit lane start for something they did when they were riding for another team in another class.