ASK THE MXPERTS: STUPIDEST RULE CHANGE IN GP HISTORY?
Since MXA is the only media outlet that dares to contradict the proclamations of King Giuseppe Luongo, I wonder what you think about the new 2016 rule passed for 2016 that states that Saturday’s MXGP and MX2 Qualifying races will not only decide gate pick for Sunday’s Grand Prix, but also award points (5 for first, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth and 1 for fifth), and that the overall winner of the Grand Prix will be the rider who has the highest number of points from the combined Qualifier and two GP motos?
We think that this is among the stupidest rules in Grand Prix racing—and not just because we find Saturday’s Qualifying races to be a dangerous waste of the few precious Grand Prix riders that the World Championship have. Given that the winner of a GP moto gets 25 points, second 22, third 20, fourth 18, fifth 16 and so on in one point increments to 20th, under this new rule the winner of Saturday’s qualifying race will get the equivalent of a bonus third moto score (with points equal to a 16th place finish). That means that the fans at the race on Sunday will need a calculator to determine who the winner of the Grand Prix is—because there is a high possibility that it won’t be the man with the most points from Sunday’s two Grand Prix motos.
Take the Grand Prix of Argentina as an example. It was won by Max Nagl with Clement Desalle second, Tony Cairoli third, Ryan Villopoto fourth, Gautier Paulin fifth and Jeremy Van Horebeek sixth. Under the new rule where qualifier points count, the third place finisher Tony Cairoli would have been first overall, second place finisher Clement Desalle would have stayed in second place, the winner Max Nagl would have dropped to third overall, Ryan Villopoto would have stayed fourth, but sixth place Jeremy Van Horebeek would have gotten fifth instead of Gautier Paulin. There is no way, given the quality of outdoor sound systems, that the fans in the stands would have a ghost of a chance of doing the math in their heads. Thus, a large number of the fans would leave the race assuming the wrong results. Are the promoters going to give a calculator to every fan in the stands? Why should the fans pay to see a GP where Max Nagl earns 45 points, but gets beat by a rider who got 44 points?
What’s the solution? If the Grand Prix organizers think that qualifying should pay points, those points should only be added to the rider’s points total for the year—after the fact—not for the day’s results. The paying customers deserve to see the races won fair-and-square on the track during Sunday’s two motos (the actual Grand Prix). It is hard enough to get new fans interested in the sport with its current two-moto math equation system without adding to the numbers game. In our opinion, to award the win based on points earned in some minor qualifier from the day before cheapens the Grand Prix experience for the fans and the sport.