Race Direction Clarifies Procedure For Argentina MotoGP Race

Race Direction issued the following statement on the procedure for the MotoGP race today:

Statement from Race Direction,
Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina.

The warm up starting at 10:40 will now be for 30 minutes, finishing at 11:10. This will apply whether the track is dry or wet.

If the track is dry for the warm up riders should use the replacement rear tyre (Option Tyre).

If the track is wet for the warm up then the plan to provide extra practice sessions with the Option tyre is cancelled and the race will be held using the tyres from the original allocation.


If the race starts in dry conditions if the warm up has been dry then riders must start with the Option tyre and the race will be for the full 25 laps. The normal flag to flag conditions will apply if the track becomes wet.

If the race starts in dry conditions when the warm up has been wet then riders may use either of the rear slick tyres (Medium & Hard of their allocation for Argentina). However, the race will be “flag to flag” for 20 laps with a compulsory stop to change machines at the end of lap 9, 10 or 11.

If the race starts in the wet and the track dries then Race Direction will decide if it is unsafe for the riders to continue in which case the race will be red flagged. The new “dry” race will then be restarted for ten laps with a 15 minute start procedure. Should the track become wet during this race the riders may change machines as normal.

If the race starts in wet conditions and remains wet then the race will be for the normal 25 laps.

Under no conditions will the use of intermediate tyres be permitted.

Race Direction


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If this backfires, and in racing that is always possible, the wolves will sweep down from the hills, but this was exactly, exactly, the solution that I figured Race Direction would come to. A quick disclaimer: I was in Race Direction for two years at the very beginning of the first Dorna contract and it opened my eyes and also made the commentary booth look a lot more attractive...sitting in the booth like bush-whackers, us talking guys can always figure out a way to be right even when we are late getting there. 

The Race Director is really the Chairman of the Board and his decisiveness or lack of it determines the effectiveness of the group. I was there under the Italians, Gardella and Nosetto. Then came Paul Butler and now Mike Webb. The difficulty resides in the hot immediacy. Given time, RD looks at precedents, calls in witnesses, interviews riders and sits back to debate, but in the heat of the battle, big calls have to be made. I didn´t like Nosetto´s call to hit Biaggi and Barros with Stop and Go penalties in Barcelona 1998, but under strict interpretation of the rules as they were then, Roberto made a defensible call. I believe the trip through the pits for the late Marco Simoncelli was the right call by Paul Butler at Le Mans, 2011. I thought Mike should have brought Rossi in for a ride-through after the Sepang incident, but it all fairness, that was one of those calls when there just was no time to carefully study the video. One thing I learned from Butler...you will never be overturned on appeal if the call you make is irreversible.  Now, today, in Argentina, I believe that Mike and his crew have called it absolutely right. Whatever happens now, they will be second-guessed, but it´s first evalulation that counts.

But there are times, and this is not one of them, when there is no absolutely correct call. I think Sepang was an example. For times when there is no one correct call, I always remember old William Burroughs... not the guy who wrote Tarzan, the nastier one... who wrote in Naked Lunch "Well as, one judge said to the other, 'Be just and if you can't be just be arbitrary.´" 

I don't fully understand why - if race starts wet then dries - there would be an option for RD to red flag. What if a rider is doing exceptionally well in the front with a significant gap to riders behind w/ only a handful of laps to finish the race? Where does his effort go once race is restarted? Shouldn't it be a flag-to-flag race? Hmm... I guess there's a potential that riders may put more than 10+ laps on the slicks after switching from wets early on in the race. I feel there should be some clarification here.