Riders’ hopes of clarity about dangerous riding came to naught at a heated Friday Safety Commission meeting – but they did come away with a promise of stricter enforcing of the existing rules, including more liberal use of the black flag for riders causing others to crash.
The very next day, the promise was fulfilled, when instead of the expected warning, Marc Marquez was docked three grid places for riding slowly on the racing line and getting in the way of Maverick Vinales.
The meeting was attended by Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, and although proceedings are strictly confidential, some leakage made it clear that the promise of stronger supervision had come from him.
But in spite of strong accusations flying around in the meeting, there was no specific censure of the current bad boys – the names most frequently censured are Marc Marquez, Danilo Petrucci and to a lesser extent Johann Zarco; and no further talk of race suspension for Marquez.
The rules are purposefully vague, talking only of riding “in a responsible manner” without endangering others; which means punishments are case-by-case judgement calls for the panel of stewards, introduced last year to relieve Race Direction of this task.
Footnote: Asked about the meeting the next afternoon, Marquez responded with humour. “They said there will be stronger penalties, and I checked that today.” But he was unrepentant about his controversial moves in Argentina. “I made some mistakes and I always want to learn from my mistakes. But my style is my style,” he said.