Lorenzo: Rider penalties need to change

Movistar Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo believes the current MotoGP penalty system needs to be upgraded as it’s not a big enough deterrent to stop repeat offenders.

In the last MotoGP race in Barcelona, Lorenzo was taken out of the Catalunya Grand Prix by Ducati rider Andrea Iannone at Turn 10 and as a penalty, the Italian will start the next race at Assen from the back of the grid.

This the second time this year that Iannone has got a grid penalty. The previous time was at the Argentinean Grand Prix on April 3, when he crashed into team-mate Andrea Dovizioso on the last lap of the face. For that transgression, he received a three-place drop at the Americas Grand Prix on April 10.

Following a judicial review this year the penalty points have been tweaked but Lorenzo feels repeat offenders need a harsher punishment.

In an interview with AutoSport, Lorenzo said he felt the penalty rules ‘are not in a good place’.

“For me at this moment with the rules of points, we are not in a good way,” said Lorenzo. “[In 2003], [John] Hopkins made a mistake at Motegi and had one race off. I made two mistakes in 2005 [in 250cc] and had one race off.

“In soccer, if you make a hard tackle, it’s a red card and a minimum of one match off. In this sport, we play with our life, I could have broken my hip and collarbone.

“If I’m an aggressive rider like I could be in the past, sometimes we are not conscious of the risk, you need a hard conversation. If you don’t have a harsh penalty you don’t learn, you don’t change.”

On Sunday evening, Lorenzo is due to speak to the FIM’s MotoGP race director Mike Webb and added that he planned on joining the riders’ safety commission at Assen later this month to discuss possible changes.

“I will not appeal [Iannone’s penalty] because they will not change the decision, but I will speak with Mike Webb and I will try to speak to the safety commission about this,” he added

“Sometimes you just understand that something must be changed when it happens to you, so let’s see if the other riders also have a similar opinion to me, and let’s see if we can do together something .

“When I was 17 or 18 in 2005, if I didn’t get the penalty I wouldn’t change. And I would remain the same. I don’t know if it’s enough for Andrea to understand that he needs to change something a little bit to avoid these kinds of actions.

“He is making these kinds of mistakes and finally, if you ride like that when you are fighting with other riders, if you don’t change your way of riding, sooner or later something happens.”