Motorcycle Racing

MotoGP riders set for crunch FIM stewards meeting at Le Mans

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

The 2023 season has been plagued by stewarding controversies, most notably the Marc Marquez Portugal penalty debacle and numerous incidents at the Spanish GP.

Following the Jerez round, chief FIM steward and double 500cc world champion Freddie Spencer will meet with the riders for the first time in several years in Friday’s safety commission gathering at Le Mans to discuss what has happened so far this year.

Reigning world champion Francesco Bagnaia – who was frustrated at Jerez to have been asked to drop one position for what the stewards deemed was an aggressive overtake – hopes the riders will be able to gain a better understanding of penalty decisions in this meeting.

“I really hope to have the possibility to understand their point of view and to share our point of view,” Bagnaia said when asked by Autosport what he hoped to gain from the meeting.

“This one could be already a good step, because in this moment, personally I’m not understanding their point of view.”

Fabio Quartararo – who was given a long lap penalty at Jerez for a collision with Miguel Oliveira in the grand prix which many felt was purely a racing incident – was more blunt in his response, stating: “I just expect them to do their work.”

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Pramac Ducati’s Johann Zarco feels incidents are not being judged equally and suggests new stewards are needed who won’t “get disturbed by the popularity” of some riders.

“We’re going to see,” replied the Frenchman. “We know that we are not agreeing with the decisions they are making all the time and that we always say it doesn’t seem equal between all the riders.

“That’s why we will try to have maybe some other guys that cannot get more disturbed by the popularity of the riders to be more equal.”

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Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales says he will simply listen to what the stewards have to say, as he feels it is hard to be critical of the process without having done the job before.

“I have my own opinion,” he said. “I would not like to be on the side of the stewards, I think it’s a very complicated job, especially because one action you can see it in a lot of different ways.

“I don’t know. I will stay quiet and listen. At the end, it’s their job and I think the only thing we can ask for is to be equal in the penalties, but I’ll say it again: I think it’s a very difficult job. I would not like to…

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