Bengaluru, February 27: MotoGP is set to introduce the long lap penalty to the list of punishments available to the stewards for the start of the 2019 FIM World Championship season.
The new rule requires penalised riders to ride through a specially-marked area off-track, with the proposal being tried out for the first time during the final pre-season tests at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
Following positive initial feedback from riders, the long lap penalty is set to be officially written into MotoGP regulations ahead of the FIM MotoGP World Championship season opener -- the Qatar Grand Prix -- to be held on March 10.
Race Direction members Loris Capirossi and Franco Uncini, as well as Dorna Sporting Director Carlos Ezpeleta, will collectively decide where the long lap penalty will be served at each particular track during the year.
New penalty zone introduced in Qatar— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) February 24, 2019
MotoGP™ Sporting Director Carlos Ezpeleta explains the new penalty zone, what it's for and why they've introduced it#MotoGP | 🎥 https://t.co/iNHt9x9Bcu pic.twitter.com/E3elTIxSxS
MotoGP legend and Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi estimated the time loss was upwards of three seconds.
The rule is expected to be used at the majority of tracks, although there may be some where there is nowhere practical to place the longer route.
"We want it to be applicable to all the circuits on the calendar, but if there is one where the limitations of the track make it impossible, that wouldn't invalidate the rule for the rest," Ezpeleta was quoted as saying in motorsport.com.
The system was initially devised as a replacement for the current practice of forcing riders to drop one position, but is now likely to be added to the list of possible sanctions stewards can deploy in-race.