The Motocross Grand Prix Commission announced on Friday that the rule passed on October 8, 2015, that would have awarded points to the top five finishers in Saturday’s GP qualifiers has been dropped. The announcement was short and sweet. It said, “The qualifying procedure (without the awarding of any points) and the points scoring system for the two races, Race 1 and Race 2, set out in the 2015 Regulations will remain unchanged for the 2016 season.”
What was this all about? Youthstream’s Giuseppe Luongo was under tremendous pressure to eliminate Saturday’s qualifying races. The riders didn’t like them because they had a 33% larger chance of getting hurt on a Grand Prix weekend—and since they were doing timed qualifying on Saturday for gate pick (albeit for Saturday’s qualifying moto), they felt that timed qualifying on Saturday was good enough to be used for gate pick on Sunday (without having to race a meaningless moto late in the day). The number of GP riders injured on Saturday in 2015 was very large, given the small size of a GP field.
But, Luongo didn’t want allow the riders to not race on Saturday. He wanted to sell two-day tickets (even though he typically held EMX 125cc, 250cc and 300c races on Saturday to draw a crowd). But the pressure from the riders, team managers, sponsors and manufacturers over the last few month got to Luongo, so he tried to increase the importance of Saturday’s qualifying races by awarding 5 points to the winner, 4 to second, 3 to third, 2 for fourth and 1 point to fifth to make the Saturday race seem more important. Under the October 8 system, these points would have been added to Sunday’s two moto scores. This idea was stupid, because the fans who were watching Sunday’s races would have to have a calculator to figure out who was actually winning the overall for the day. Under the proposed system a rider who went 2-2 could lose the race to the rider who went 3-3 (if the 3-3 rider won Saturday’s qualifier). It would have instituted an adhoc three-moto system…and nobody wants that.
It isn’t often that the Grand Prix community stands up and fights—and even rarer that the lap dog European moto press opens their mouths to criticize anything that Luongo does—but someone somewhere stood up and was heard. We have Antonio Cairoli and the other riders to thank for speaking their minds. However, it isn’t really a victory, because they still have to race on Saturday—so they fought to maintain the status quo.