Dorna Press Release: Statement By Carmelo Ezpeleta On Argentina MotoGP Race

Dorna today issued a press release containing a statement from the company's CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta, on the events at the Argentina round of MotoGP at the Termas De Rio Hondo circuit. The press release appears below, or you can watch a video of Ezpeleta's statement on the website:

Carmelo Ezpeleta: "I respect the decisions taken by the stewards"

A day after the Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, has commented on the issues surrounding the start of the MotoGP™ race, which was delayed due to the changing weather conditions.

Going back to what happened on Sunday, Ezpeleta explained: “The MotoGP race and the other races took place under a very difficult situation due to the weather – Moto2™ took place in dry conditions while Moto3™ was in wet conditions”.

About the starting procedure: “At the moment we studied the situation of the grid, just Miller was using the slick tyres. The rest of the riders had the right to go to the pitlane and take the exit from there, after changing the bike set-up for dry conditions”.

This is not the first time this situation has occurred, as Ezpeleta said: “It’s the same that happened some years ago in Sachsenring, where everybody took the start from the pitlane”. From then on, they’ve been planning for this situation: “We made the decision, shared by the majority of the teams, to start the way we did” [for the rider who made the right decision and did not move from the grid to start from his original position, while the others start from further back]. “That decision was taken for safety reasons, and it was the right decision”.

Concerning the race itself, he added: “The situation was very difficult due to weather conditions, there was a dry line on the asphalt. Then what happened is what everyone saw on TV”.

Ezpeleta defended the decision taken by the stewards: “Since two years ago Dorna is not involved in the nomination of stewards, they are people nominated by the FIM and by IRTA. They took the decision, which I will obviously not judge”.

A line of dialogue with the riders and teams will be opened, however: “In the next GP Safety Commission with the riders, in Austin, we will discuss this situation and for sure we will take some experience from that”.

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I think it depends on when the riders want to change...

Isn't the rule (I’m asking, so I don’t know) that if a rider wants to change bikes before the 3 min (to go) board, then the rider must start the warm up lap from the pit lane and start the race from the back of the grid

So if every rider (bar one) wants to make a bike change then lining them all up in the order they qualified but as far back as possible behind the single guy who didn’t pit isn’t quite as crazy and unjust as it looked on TV (plus isn’t hindsight wonderful)

Perhaps some riders made the decision to change before the (original) 3 min board and others after, and the riders who did after were able to ‘take profit’ (as the saying seems to be these days) from the delayed start.

But the delayed start did indeed reset the 3 min board, and equally RD could have just lined them all up as qualified in their original spots, which would have been harsh to Miller, but perfectly acceptable within a ‘delayed start’ scenario 

If the rule was “the bike you make the sighting lap on, is the bike you start the race on, or you start from the pit” then Miller was hard done by

But I’m not convinced that is the rule, I think it’s (what I wrote above) about changing before the 3 min board and having to start at the back or after the 3 min board and starting from the pit, which is why basiclly every rider got a 3 row grid drop penalty (bar Miller) because in effect, they’d changed after the sighting lap,  but before the 3 min board due to the delayed start

Happy to be corrected

that Jack Miller got the short end of the straw. I understand the organizers tried to make it more fair by giving him an ultimately ridiculous handicap, head start whatever you might wanna call it. The organizers should have delayed the rest of the field's start by the time it takes for a rider to come in ride through the pit lane, swap bikes and then merge back on to the hot track. Also to make it more fair they should have averaged out the time difference it would have been on a lap with slicks vs a lap with wet tires and added that to the above mentioned time. That would have been a more fair start of the race to Jack Miller.

That would have involved re-writing the rule book which did in fact cover this very instance. It was not anticipated that almost the whole field would need to start at the back of the grid however.

At what point did Race Direction decide it was not safe to start the race? Once 5 bikes left? 10, 15?

There should definitely be a clear cut limit which defines whether it is safe or not before a mass exodus screws those who stay on the grid.

The grid penalties were comprehensible, but entirely futile and in no way prevent a repetition of yesterdays scenario. Perhaps some other penalty needs to be implemented to that admittedly rare and bizarre sequence of events.

to the pits resembled a cattle stampede (hey, this IS Argentina, land of cowboys and beef on the hoof).

The other safety concern is if the riders are not permitted to leave the grid after the 3 minute mark, there would have been 23 riders coming in at nearly the same time at the end of Lap 1 to do bike swaps, which would have been even more chaotic.

The race was basically run to the rules...

 “All adjustments must be completed by the display of the 3-Minute board. After this board is displayed, riders who still wish to make adjustments must push their machine to the pit lane. Such riders and their machines must be clear of the grid and in the pit lane before the display of the 1-Minute board, where they may continue to make adjustments, or change machine in MotoGP only. Such riders will start the warm up lap from the pit lane and will start the race from the back of the grid.”

(So not having to start from pit lane after all)

So because all the riders (bar Jack) came in and changed bikes, they should have all started from the pit lane, BUT ONLY FOR THE WARM UP LAP then take their place AT THE BACK OF THE GRID

Becuase everybody came in RD make everyone start at the back, but still in their qualifying positions 

Of course, because RD delayed the start (which is their right to do*) they could of just lined everybody up and started as ‘normal’ with their qualified grid spots

So RD didn’t completely shaft Miller, and in fact did reward him for not pitting, when they didn’t have too.


The above (NB the part I didn't copy was the standard race day schedule) schedule can only be varied as follows:

i) Prior to the event by Dorna;

ii) During the event by the Race Direction.

"Such riders will start the warm up lap from the pit lane and will start the race from the back of the grid."

I agree that they followed the rules, but they still cheated Miller somewhat.

There were 24 riders starting the race, and each grid row accomodates three of them. That means there are a total of 8 rows in use. Any riders lining up at the back of the grid would have been at least 8 rows behind the rider in pole position.

So they should have begun the lineup 8 rows behind Miller. If they ran out of rows at the back of the grid, they could've moved Miller forward. Would have been easy enough to measure forward from pole position.

... press release. 

I think they should have released them single file from the Pit Lane in grid order after Jack started normally.

If it was unsafe to follow the written procedure then the status quo should have been reinstated. Send the bikes back out with the original tyres on & they need to pit at their own discretion.

The number one rule of every race track everywhere is don't go the wrong way.

I can't believe they didn't DQ marc. The race officials look like they played a favorite. I wonder how long they would have thought about it if is was some also ran who tried to pull that BS.



More straightforward would be to delay the "pack" by the same time enforced on a pit lane exit start. This could occur whenever there are more than a safe number of riders for a pit lane start. Those riders are gridded at the back of the grid as we saw yesterday and start using a delayed light. This would work with 3 riders... or 23 riders!

At Sachsenring, most riders decided AFTER their warm-up lap to switch bikes and start from pitlane. In Argentina, they decided BEFORE their warm-up lap. That's significantly different because they didn't have to start the race from pitlane but from the grid after the last regular starter leaving the original starting position free. There wouldn't have been a dangerous start from pitlane, so, imho no safety reasons for a delayed start.


Carmelo's "done for safety" rationalisation is pure bullocks.

Another option (which would have everyone leaving at the same time and at least have some semblance of proper racing on TV) would be to penalise everyone who didn’t make the correct decision to go to slicks a -3 place final finishing position.  As Miller was the only one to have made a decision he would effectively get a +3 position advantage.  

MM wouldn’t have had all his problems.  There would have been no argey bargey and Rossi would have stayed on his bike. That way Miller would have had a decent chance on standing on the podium.  I reckon that would have been quite fair.

If Miller had a 30+ sec advantage all on his own (pretending that everyone was simulating a bike swap) it would have ended up as a very ordinary spectacle, even if it was justified.

But Mr Ezpeleta seeks to justify the re-start decision by virtue of it reflecting a majority of team views. RD is supposed to be the regulator in this situation. It cannot outsource decisions to some sort of impossibly conflicted kangaroo democracy of teams that would prefer not to be disadvantaged by their own miscalculation. He then goes on to argue the decision was safety motivated, but that too is a cop out cause there were alternative restart scenarios that controlled the safety issue and still delivered some sort of natural justice, such as a realistic grid time or distance penalty, or some regulated exit from pit lane. 

So none of these decisions was 'right' and they did not reflect the approach of a serious independent regulator, but they did perfectly suggest a politically compromised regulator, as so many of the of the conspiracy theorists and critics have complained.

ironically the only one to emerge from the whole fiasco with any credit was the rider most affected by it: Miller, who is looking less like JackAss and more like a gp statesman with each outing.

My 2 penneth worth....

I totally accept that the interpretation made by RD on the reformation of the grid, with an attempt to offer Jack M some sort of benefit to his foresight, but when so many riders decide to change (before the 1 min board), the 'back of the grid' approach is unworkable.  

I would suggest reforming the grid but applying a 30(?) second penalty to everyone who left the grid.  It would be safer and Jack still earns some advantage for sticking to his original decision.  You coiuld apply this approach once a certain number (or %) of riders leave the grid.

It does make it more difficult to track real time positions in the race but at least it would have a more 'normal' grid fornation and the quicker riders with the changes have less 'slower' riders to pass through.