Most competition series, whether it’s baseball or motorcycle road racing, have a relatively clear-cut set of rules that regulate the sport. Not so in Moto GP, where today’s rule is tomorrow’s garbage can liner.
Setting aside the unbelievable and near-continuous technical rule changes in the last couple of seasons, there have also been changes in rider eligibility standards. For example, there was a very firm rule in place that riders coming into Moto GP for the first time would have to spend at least a year on a “satellite” or private team before being admitted to the hallowed halls of Moto GP factory teams.
Well, it was a firm rule until Honda decided it wanted to bring Marc Marquez into its Repsol factory team. The rule quietly disappeared, and Marquez has been destroying his more experienced competition for the last two seasons.
Now it’s happened again, this time with the minimum age allowed for riders to enter Moto 3, the highly entertaining and competitive class that’s forming the feeder network for Moto 2 and Moto GP these days. The minimum age is 16, no ifs, ands, or buts.
But the Estrella Galicia 0,0 team that currently has Alex Rins and Alex Marquez running in Moto 3, has asked for and received a waiver of the rule. It’s expected that the team will be bumping both current riders into Moto 2 in 2015, so need replacements. 15-year-old French racer Fabio Quartararo, currently leading the Spanish CEV Moto 3 championship (itself a feeder for the world level series) is their first choice.
Only problem is, the kid doesn’t turn 16 until April of next year, which would mean he’d miss the first two races. No problem, says the FIM governing body, let him ride – the excuse, er, reason being that the CEV series is also run under FIM regs, so, er, it’s okay.
No doubt it’s just a coincidence that Moto GP is run by Dorna, a Spanish company, and both exceptions have been made for Spanish teams.