An Open Letter to CAS, FIM and DORNA
Nov 2, 2015 — For translations please use https://translate.google.com or visit https://www.facebook.com/FairMotoGPChampionship/ where a team of volunteer translators are working to complete translations in many languages. Thank you
An Open Letter for the Attention of :
Court of Arbitration for Sport, Lausanne, Switzerland
FIM (International Motorcycling Federation) : Mike Webb, Vito Ippolito
DORNA Sports: Carmelo Ezpeleta, Javier Alonso
cc. Yamaha: Lin Jarvis, William Favero
November 2nd 2015
On Sunday October 25th 2015 we witnessed an unfortunate event in the Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, which resulted in Valentino Rossi being sanctioned with a 3 point penalty.
The FIM issued Mr Rossi with 3 penalty points under Regulation 1.21.2 “Behaviour during Practice and Race” making the following statement …
“Motive : On the 25th of October 2015, during the MotoGP race of the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, you deliberately ran wide on Turn 14 in order to force another rider off line, resulting in contact causing the other rider to crash.
This is considered to be irresponsible riding causing danger to other competitors and is therefore an infringement of article 1.21.2 (see below) of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations.”
For reference Regulation 1.21.2 states “Riders must ride in a responsible manner which does not cause danger to other competitors or participants, either on track or in the pit lane.
Any infringement of this rule will be penalised with one the following penalties:
1) Penalty Points
3) Change of Position
4) Ride Through
5) Time Penalty
6) Drop of Any Number of Grid Positions at the Rider’s Next Race.
8) Withdrawal of Championship Points
This penalty sent shock waves among the world’s MotoGP followers. We were so dismayed by this ruling that we felt compelled to begin a petition against the decision.
Over 700,000 people have already collectively signed this petition, and sub-petitions, all of which are publicly available to view on the website https://www.change.org/p/motogp-dorna-amp-fim-remove-the-penalty-from-valentino-rossi-and-bring-back-integrity-to-the-championship.
We now wish to provide further explanation for the petition and ask, with all sincerity, that you give your full consideration to the points raised herein. We hope that this helps assist in achieving a just result when considering the appeal requested by Mr Valentino Rossi on Friday October 30th through the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Valentino Rossi (VR), rider 46, was riding responsibly when he slowed his pace in a controlled manner. He did so in order to alleviate the danger to both himself and Marc Marquez (MM), rider 93, that was being caused by MM’s continued aggressive/dangerous riding style of the previous 4 laps.
VR’s actions did not leave MM with only one option, i.e. to collide with VR. MM could have taken multiple other actions, but instead of avoiding contact he leant into VR. The collision and consequential fall of MM were the sole result of MM’s actions within the unfolding situation.
This is further evidenced by MM’s continuing race tactic to use his bike as a battering ram, as witnessed in many previous Grand Prix races; actions that are rarely seen in MotoGP from experienced and respectful Championship riders.
The suggestion that VR had kicked MM has not only been disproved by video evidence, but would also defy the laws of physics given the weight of both MM and his bike. If a kick had occurred the bike of MM would have fallen in a style closer to a high-side i.e. throwing the rider over the top instead of sliding him underneath the bike, which is what occurs when the front wheel washes out. The bike of VR would also have been pushed in the opposite direction to the force of any kick; this was not the case.
Also, in response to Honda's claim with regards to the front brake being (kicked) by VR as alleged by MM; this pressure that they can see on their data, for the front brake, is a direct result of the lever being driven into VR's hip, leg or even bike as Marquez lent into and collided with VR unnecessaarily.
This kind of impact and front brake application is so common in MotoGP that all of the teams now ride with front brake protectors. Therefore, is it impossible for anyone other than MM to bring on his front brake.
VR should never have been put in a position where it became necessary for him (VR) to deal with this situation. VR and his team management had on a number of occasions made attempts to get race control to address the growing problem of MM’s conduct.
October 18th 2015
It was reported by riders Valentino Rossi (Rider 46) and Andrea Ianonne (Rider 29) that, during the Phillip Island Grand Prix (October 18th), MM was intentionally slowing and manipulating the pace of the race, which in turn manipulates the Championship, bearing in mind that Valentino Rossi is the current Championship Leader.
MM made the statement denying that his slowing race was deliberate, claiming that he was losing front end control, but that it later came back to him and enabled him to lap more than a second-a-lap quicker than race leader Jorge Lorenzo and pass him all within one (final) lap. Such a claim/statement is an insult to the intelligence of all MotoGP fans.
The claims by Riders 46 and 29 were dismissed by the FIM.
October 22nd 2015
Rider 46 made a public statement of his concerns that rider 93 was intentionally riding to sabotage the championship. He then made a further statement that it was his intention, through his public statement, to make a declaration to MM and race officials, but still no action was taken by series’ officials.
Massimo Meregalli of Yamaha went to Race Control to suggest they intervene to ease the simmering tensions between riders 46 and 93 prior to the Sepang Grand Prix. However, Race Control replied that it was not necessary to call the two riders.
During the Sepang Grand Prix, MM continued the same unethical tactics with greater ferocity, manipulating, sabotaging and dangerous conduct causing VR to raise his hand to draw attention to it in Lap 6. MM did not take this opportunity to pass VR, neither did MM alter his riding style. No intervention was made by race officials at this point.
The continued aggressive and provoking riding of MM led VR to slow his pace in order to make eye contact with MM and express his frustration with MM’s actions. Had MM wished to pass VR, as was his claim, he had more than ample opportunity to do so. He at no point needed to follow VR’s line. He could have taken another line, but instead chose to ride into VR, making contact and resulting in him coming off his bike, as previously stated, as previously stated.
We would further point out Rider 93 then in contravention of rule 1.21.6 …
“If the Rider encounters a problem with the machine which will result in his retirement from the practice or the race, then he should not attempt to rejoin and tour at reduced speed to the pits, but should pull off the track and park his machine in a safe place as indicated by the marshals.”
This further brings into question MM's motives in the desperation to get back to the team so quickly. As with his being placed 4th at the time that he fell, almost the entire field would have had to negotiate him on his return journey.
MM for a second time denied that his actions (this time at Sepang) had been intentional. This time, however, the FIM acknowledged that they could see MM had intentionally acted in this way, but still no penalty was made to MM on the basis that his passes were clean, no contact was made and that he had not broken any regulations.
Video footage, that is clearly available to you, shows frequent contact and his riding had caused VR to raise his hand on the lap previous to the Turn 14 incident.
These actions by MM show a clear intention of sabotage of Mr Rossi’s campaign and consequently the Championship. His actions have already affected the World Championship Outcome thus far by sabotaging the last two races, and if the sanction to VR remains, MM will have been successful in sabotaging and manipulating all of the 3 final races and Championship.
With this is mind, the lack of penalty to MM in addition to the penalisation of VR is endorsing and cementing the misplaced intentions of MM, and further condoning the corruption of the Championship by MM.
Since MM has reached appoint of no longer be able to retain his World Championship Title his behaviour and intentions, within the Championship, have become one of personal vendetta, as witnessed by the fans, to the extent that it is causing danger to other competitors and sinking the standard of the sport.
To allow the actions of MM to continue unchecked sends a message to the supporters of the sport that the Championship will bend to the reckless will and immature ethics of a single rider. A decision which is fuelling negative comments worldwide, about the sport, that surely no party wishes to see?
This is further amplified by the race officials overlooking the situation whereby Jorge Lorenzo (JL) passed Valentino Rossi on a yellow flag. VR turned his head to look at the marshal and reduced his speed; this is not the actions of a man who is prepared t do anything at any cost to win. Jorge Lorenzo did not slow and yet he was not penalised for this action, nor was he asked to drop a position. This is reinforcing a sense of a lack of fairness in the Championship. Even though it is a small incident in comparison to the Turn 14 incident, it still occurred without penalty.
If JL were to succeed in his pursuit of the Championship it surely should not be through the intentional sabotage of another rider; this would only serve JL with a dishonourable and tainted Championship success, which is a disservice to his season’s work and to the sport.
Rider 46’s actions were not dangerous and did not cause the collision and subsequent fall of rider 93; therefore rider 46 did not contravene regulation 1.21.2.
Rider 93 chose to willingly use and capitalise upon the actions of rider 46 in order to make rider contact yet again, whilst claiming the collision to be as a result of rider 46’s manoeuvre. Through rider 93’s own actions his bike fell; MM then immediately released a false statement of intent to fans and race officials.
All manner of rumours about the sport being corrupted and controlled by sponsor, manufacturer and national interests are circulating; alienating the fans and customers of the sport. We urge you to reverse this penalty, enabling VR to take his earned grid position, and return the sense of integrity to the sport so that the championship is clean and fair. And, we ask that you further consider removing MM from the final race, under Regulation 1.21.2, to ensure a safe final race.
On behalf of the 700,000+ petitioners and fans of MotoGP I thank you for your time in considering our petition.
Nicholas Davis, UK
Massimo Iezzi, Italy
Dario Lopez, Italy
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