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Moto GP BASICS

Wanted to post this for those not familiar with MOTO GP, this explains more or less everything you need to know about this awesome sport
A lot of reading, but worth it if you're a new fan. This can also be used for a quick reference guide if you have a question about something.


Overview
MotoGP™ is the premier motorcycle racing World Championship; an eighteen-race series visiting thirteen countries, four continents and with pan-global television coverage. Ten nationalities of the world’s most skilled riders line a grid armed with cutting-edge motorcycle technology with prototype machinery fielded by three manufacturers; Ducati, Yamaha and Honda.
Established as a World Championship by the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) in 1949, MotoGP is now into its 65th year. It is the oldest motorsports championship in the world and the premier-class of three racing classes that take to the track on a typical Grand Prix weekend. Formerly labelled ‘500cc’, the championship underwent a change in 2002 with new technical regulations permitting the introduction of four-stroke machinery and increasing the engine capacity to 990cc, thus becoming MotoGP. From 2007 the rules were altered, limiting engine capacity to 800cc, and once again from 2012, setting the maximum engine displacement at 1000cc. MotoGP has been administrated by commercial rights owners Dorna Sports under the supervision of the FIM since 1992.
MotoGP™ has a rich history with Grand Prix events having taken place in every corner of the world throughout the last 65 years. More than 2.4 million people came through the gates of the circuits to watch MotoGP in 2013. Italy, Great Britain, Spain, the USA and Australia are just some of the nationalities that have all totalled high numbers in terms of race victories and world titles, the details of which can be found in the Results & Statistics section.
As well as the premier class there are also two ultra-competitive World Championship Grand Prix categories, which form part of ‘MotoGP™’. The Moto3™ (formerly 125cc) and Moto2™ (formerly 250cc) World Championships have their own races at each Grand Prix, meaning that by the end of the season three champions are crowned.
RACE WEEKENDS
On a Grand Prix weekend there is a race in each of MotoGP’s three categories:
Moto3™ – The 4-stroke, 250cc, single-cylinder class replaced the 125cc GP category in 2012. The maximum age for riders is 28 (25 for wild-card riders or those newly contracted and competing in a Moto3 for the first time) and the minimum age is 16.
Moto2™ – The Moto2™ class replaced the 250cc category from 2010. Honda is the sole engine supplier, and Dunlop provides the tyres. The bikes are powered by a 600cc 4-stroke engine, producing around 140hp, and the design and construction of the chassis is free within the constraints of the FIM Grand Prix Technical Regulations. The main frame, swingarm, fuel tank, seat and fairing/bodywork from a non-prototype (i.e. series production road-homologated) motorcycle may not be used. The minimum age for riders is 16.
MotoGP™ – The ultimate test for the finest talents in motorcycle racing, in which the maximum engine capacity is the aforementioned 1000cc (4-stroke engines) and the minimum age for riders is 18.
At selected events the race timetable is augmented further by the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup – initiatives designed to unearth future MotoGP stars from across the world.
A Grand Prix event takes place over three days, with the first two of those for practice and qualification for each class. MotoGP changed its qualifying format for 2013, whereby riders would need to qualify for a slot in the top-ten qualifying session by posting competitive times during any of the free practices. A “second-tier” qualifying then takes place with the slower riders on Saturday, yet has the incentive of the top two making it into the top qualifying session shortly after. For Moto2 and Moto3 the qualifying format remained the same. The third day is race-day.
MotoGP™ Qualifying explained:
As in previous years, there will be three 45-minute Free Practice sessions, which on a regular race weekend will be held Friday morning and afternoon, as well as Saturday morning. The difference this year will be that the times set in those sessions will count towards Qualifying, with the combined results determining whether a rider will participate in Q1 or Q2.
Q1 will consist of the riders whose times are 11th place and below, and will be a 15-minute session. During this time riders will have the incentive to qualify for Q2, which the two fastest of the session will be able to contest. This will result in 12 riders contesting the final 15-minute Q2 session, to determine the starting order at the front. The riders not in the fastest two places in QP1 will take grid positions 13 and above according to their placement in QP1.
To accommodate for any unforeseen changes or necessary adjustments, there will be a 30 minute Free Practice 4, which will be held before the two Qualifying sessions. This will not be timed, nor count towards which Qualifying a rider will take part in.
1. The three existing sessions of free practice will be unchanged, however, the combined times from those sessions will determine participation in the final qualifying practice.
2. The ten fastest riders will be seeded through to Qualifying Practice 2 (QP2).
3. All other riders will take part in Qualifying Practice 1 (QP1).
4. The fastest two riders in QP1 will progress to QP2, making a total of 12 riders competing for the first 12 grid positions.
5. The riders not in the fastest two places in QP1 will take grid positions 13 and above according to their times in QP1.
After warm-up sessions for each category on race-day, traditionally the smallest category, in this case Moto3™, takes to the track first, with the Moto2™ class following and then finally the MotoGP™ event. This can be subject to change however. Races vary in length between 95-130km and normally last between 40-45 minutes, conforming to a set number of laps, which differs at each track. Pit-stops are rare but permitted, and are especially applicable in changeable weather conditions when riders can enter the pit-lane and switch machines to one fitted with different spec tyres (only MotoGP™).
RIDERS
The current MotoGP World Champion is Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez, who in 2013 claimed his first premier-class title in his rookie season, breaking numerous records along the way. The Championship saw Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo finish a very close runner-up behind him after some spectacular duels between the pair along the way, with Repsol’s Dani Pedrosa finishing third after a year with mixed fortunes.
In 2014 the MotoGP class is joined by a selection of new riders – known as Rookies – who will ensure that the level of competition and racing ability remains at an exceptionally high level. 2013 Moto2 champion Pol Espargaro moves up to the premier-class, taking Cal Crutchlow’s vacant seat in the Tech 3 outfit, with additional rookies Scott Redding and Mike di Meglio going to the GO&FUN Honda Gresini and Avintia Blusens team respectively. Also making his MotoGP debut will be Australian Broc Parkes with PBM’s CRT machine. The list of participants in each Grand Prix is composed of the permanent riders, contracted and nominated by their teams for the whole season, and wildcard entries – who are often local riders. Approximately 24 participants will line up each MotoGP race, and about 35 take part in each Moto2 and Moto3 race.
Riders from around the globe take part in the World Championships including the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, UK, USA and Venezuela.
For profiles of every rider from all three Grand Prix categories visit our dedicated Riders & Teams section.
MotoGP™ also has close links with the Riders for Health charity, which helps health workers in Africa have access to reliable transportation so they can reach the most isolated people with regular and predictable health care.

Last edited by CBR Time; 04-05-2014 at 09:24 AM.
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History
Boasting 65 years of history, MotoGP is the oldest of all motorsports World Championships - its first annual competition having been held in 1949.
From the early 1900s motorcycle Grands Prix were held in various countries and in 1938 the predecessor to the current FIM, the FICM (Fédération Internationale des Clubs Motocyclistes), announced a European Championship. However, the start of the Second World War interrupted the competition and it then took some time after the war for fuel to become available, before a truly international series could be created.
EARLY DAYS
When the first formal World Championship was held in 1949 Grand Prix racing comprised four solo classes, with the inaugural ‘premier class’ 500cc title being won by British rider Leslie Graham on AJS machinery. Another Brit, Freddie Frith (Velocette) took the first ever 350cc World title, while Italians Bruno Ruffo (Moto Guzzi) and Nello Pagani (Mondial) were the first 250cc and 125cc World Champions respectively.
A 600cc sidecar championship in the same season was won by Britons Eric Oliver and Denis Jenkinson with Norton machinery, though the sidecar category became a 500cc competition in 1951.
The Italian manufacturers such as the aforementioned Mondial and Moto Guzzi firms, along with companies such as Gilera and MV Agusta, dominated the World Championships during the 1950s, reflecting the strength of the country’s motorcycle industry at the time. MV Agusta were particularly prolific late in the decade, taking a clean sweep of World titles across all four categories for three seasons from 1958 to 1960 – while their dominance in the 500cc class was unbroken for 17 years from 1958 until 1974.
THE SWINGING SIXTIES
During the ‘60s the Japanese motorbike industry began to boom and during that decade many of the manufacturers that participate in modern day MotoGP™ racing, such as Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha, arrived to pick up their first World Championship title wins across the 125, 250 and 500 categories, as they announced themselves in Grand Prix racing. Suzuki in particular enjoyed great success in a new 50cc class which was introduced in 1962.
The late ‘60s brought the start of the glory days for MotoGP™ Legend Giacomo Agostini – the most successful rider in the history of World Championship competition. Up until the modern era riders regularly competed in two or three classes simultaneously and Agostini took 10 of his 15 titles in five successive seasons as double champion in 350cc and 500cc - in a golden period commencing in 1968, riding for MV Agusta.
At this time the escalating costs associated with Grand Prix racing had reached such a level that several Japanese firms withdrew from competition - with only Yamaha left at the end of the ‘60s. In response the FIM introduced rules which limited the bikes to single cylinder engines in the 50cc class, two cylinders in 125cc and 250cc, and four cylinders in 350cc and 500cc.
LEVEL PLAYING FIELD
In the period that followed the level playing field saw title wins for firms from Europe (Bultaco, Kreidler, Morbidelli, MV Agusta), Japan (Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha) and North America (Harley Davidson) – with the Japanese firms finally breaking MV Agusta’s stranglehold on the premier class by the mid 1970s.
After a break of almost 12 years from racing, Honda rejoined the World Championships in the late 1970s and by 1983 they had changed their philosophy from using 4-stroke machinery to build the V3 500 2-stroke, known as the NS500, on which Freddie Spencer took the 500cc World title – his first championship win and the first for Honda since their return to Grand Prix.
The previous season racing in the 350cc class had been brought to a conclusion after 34 years of competition, leaving four classes in the World Championship - 50cc, 125cc, 250cc and 500cc – with 50cc subsequently replaced by an 80cc category in 1984. A short lived affair, the 80cc World Championship was contested for just six seasons, yielding four titles for Derbi, three courtesy of Spanish rider Jorge Martinez.
AMERICAN IDOLS
The 1980s and 1990s saw some superb quality racing in the premier class in particular with fierce competition between Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha and some great battles between American stars such as Eddie Lawson, Randy Mamola, Freddie Spencer, Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz. Meanwhile in the 125cc and 250cc categories European factories such as Derbi, Garelli and later Aprilia were fighting for the honours with the Japanese giants.
The long association that sidecars had with Grand Prix racing came to an end after the 1996 season, when the class evolved into the Sidecar World Cup in 1997.
In the late 1990s the 500cc class was utterly dominated by Honda hero and MotoGP™ Legend Mick Doohan who took five consecutive titles, before a combination of racing injuries brought the Australian’s career to a premature end in 1999.
THE MODERN AGE
Before the revision of regulations which brought about the move to 990cc 4-stroke competition in the premier class - in line with modern engineering and production trends - a young Italian rider called Valentino Rossi took the last ever 500cc title in 2001 on Honda machinery, having won the 1997 edition of the 125cc championship and the 1999 quarter litre crown with Aprilia.
After the re-branding of the World Championship as MotoGP™ in 2002 and the introduction of 990cc racing, Rossi went on to win four further consecutive titles, two with Honda and two after a sensational move to Yamaha.
In recent seasons the lower cylinder categories have been ruled by young European riders preparing for MotoGP™ on Aprilia and Honda bikes, with Dani Perdosa epitomising the trend with three successive titles – one in 125 in 2003 followed by two in 250 – riding for Honda before moving into the premier class. In his first season in MotoGP™ Pedrosa shared the Repsol Honda pit-box with American rider Nicky Hayden, whose aggressive but consistent riding earned him the 2006 title and ended Rossi’s annual procession to glory.
At the start of the 2007 season, new rules restricting the number of tyres used on Grand Prix weekends and a reduction in engine size from 990cc to 800cc again levelled the playing field in MotoGP™ – with Bridgestone-equipped Ducati rider Casey Stoner emerging as the first standout rider of the new era, as the runaway 2007 World Champion. In 2008, however, Rossi returned to the pinnacle, taking his sixth premier class title, with Stoner a distant runner-up in the standings.
The 2009 season saw the introduction of a single-tyre rule, as Bridgestone were named the sole suppliers for the MotoGP™ class. Rossi took his seventh title in the premier class after a battle with team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, taking him to within one more of equalling Giacomo Agostini’s all-time record of eight.
The 2010 season saw a new name enter into the MotoGP™ class history book as Jorge Lorenzo was crowned World Champion following an exciting season long battle with team mate Rossi for the title. Lorenzo showed superb consistency and remarkable maturity to claim the premier class crown aged just 23 years old.
2011 saw Casey Stoner move to factory Honda, a switch that proved a resounding success. Stoner clinched the 2011 title with a win at Phillip Island, his 9th but not his final victory of the season (he also won the last round in Valencia).
In 2012 as the grid switched to the 1000cc machines it was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo that took the title after finishing second in Phillip Island. He was pushed all the way by Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa, while Casey Stoner finished his final season in third, following a mid-season injury, before heading into retirement. The current MotoGP World Champion is Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez, who in 2013 claimed his first premier-class title in his rookie season, breaking numerous interviews along the way. The Championship saw Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo finish a very close runner-up behind him after some spectacular duels between the pair.
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MANUFACTURERS – THE GREAT NAMES
The following list provides the main statistics on the key manufacturers who have participated in the World Championships over the past six decades (statistics correct as of end of 2013 season):
AJS 1 Constructors World title, 9 victories in all classes
Aprilia 18 Constructors World titles, 274 victories in all classes
Derbi 8 Constructors World titles, 93 victories in all classes
Ducati 1 Constructors World title, 32 victories in all classes
Garelli 5 Constructors World titles, 51 victories in all classes
Gilera 5 Constructors World titles, 59 victories in all classes
Kreidler 7 Constructors World titles, 71 victories in all classes
KTM 3 Constructors World titles, 24 victories in all classes
Harley Davidson 1 Constructors World title, 28 victories in all classes
Honda 62 Constructors World titles, 667 victories in all classes
Kawasaki 9 Constructors World titles, 85 victories in all classes
Mondial 5 Constructors World titles, 18 victories in all classes
Moto Guzzi 6 Constructors World titles, 45 victories in all classes
MV Agusta 37 Constructors World titles, 275 victories in all classes
Norton 4 Constructors World titles, 41 victories in all classes
Suzuki 15 Constructors World titles, 155 victories in all classes
Yamaha 37 Constructors World titles, 479 victories in all classes
MOTOGP LEGENDS
Since the launch of the MotoGP™ Hall of Fame in 2000, a series of riders who have each been key protagonists throughout more than half a century of Grand Prix racing have been inducted as MotoGP™ Legends. The first rider to become a MotoGP™ Legend was Australia’s aforementioned five-time World Champion Mick Doohan, who was honoured at Mugello, in May 2000.
Since then several additional illustrious names from different eras of racing have been inducted into the MotoGP™ Hall of Fame, as listed in full here:
Giacomo Agostini (Italy) 15 World titles, 122 victories in all classes
Mick Doohan (Australia) 5 World titles, 54 victories in all classes
Geoffrey Duke (GB) 6 World titles, 33 victories in all classes
Mike Hailwood (GB) 9 World titles, 76 victories in all classes
Daijiro Kato (Japan) 1 World title, 17 victories in all classes
Wayne Gardner (Australia) 1 World title, 18 victories in all classes
Eddie Lawson (USA) 4 World titles, 31 victories in all classes
Anton Mang (Germany) 5 World titles, 42 victories in all classes
Angel Nieto (Spain) 13 World titles, 90 victories in all classes
Wayne Rainey (USA) 3 World titles, 24 victories in all classes
Phil Read (GB) 7 World titles, 52 victories in all classes
Kenny Roberts (USA) 3 World titles, 24 victories in all classes
Jarno Saarinen (FIN) 1 World titles, 15 victories in all classes
Kevin Schwantz (USA) 1 World title, 25 victories in all classes
Barry Sheene (GB) 2 World titles, 23 victories in all classes
Freddie Spencer (USA) 3 World titles, 27 victories in all classes
John Surtees (GB) 7 World titles, 38 victories in all classes
Carlo Ubbiali (Italy) 9 World titles, 39 victories in all classes
Casey Stoner (Australia) 2 World titles, 45 victories in all classes
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Key Rules
An understanding of some of the basic rules of MotoGP™ World Championship racing adds to the enjoyment of any viewer watching Grand Prix, whether you are at the track in person or whether you are one of the millions keeping up with the action on television.
A full list of the entire FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix rules and codes can be obtained from the FIM’s official website by clicking here, while below you will find a couple of examples of some of the most important rules.
Breaking rules on track and/or ignoring flag instructions can result in various punishments for the riders depending on the seriousness of the infringement, namely: warnings, fines, ride through penalties, changes of race position, time penalties, disqualifications, withdrawals of Championship points, suspensions or exclusions.
RIDE THROUGH PROCEDURE
The Ride Through Procedure penalty can be imposed on a rider if, for example, he has jump started and left his starting position before the red lights go off to signal the race has commenced.
During the race, the rider will be requested to ride through the pit lane and may then re-join his fellow competitors on track. Stopping is not permitted and the rider must respect the 60km/h speed limit in pit lane. In case of infraction of this speed limit, the ride through procedure will be repeated and in the case of a second infraction of this speed limit, the black flag signifying disqualification will be shown to the rider.
After notification has been made to the rider’s team that a ride through penalty is being imposed, a yellow board displaying the riders' numbers will be shown at the finish line and the information will also be displayed on the timekeeping monitors. Failure by the relevant rider to ride through, having been shown the board five times, will result in that rider being shown the black flag.
In the case where the race organisation has been unable to carry out the ride through penalty before the end of the race, the relevant rider will be inflicted with a time penalty of 20 seconds.
WET & DRY RACES
All races are categorised as either wet or dry by Race Direction (comprising representatives from FIM, IRTA and Dorna) before they start. A board may be displayed on the grid to indicate the status of the race. If no board is displayed, the race is automatically dry. The purpose of this classification is to indicate to riders the consequence of varying climatic conditions during a race, which of course affects their choice of tyres.
A white flag being waved at the flag marshal post during the race indicates that Race Direction has decided to declare a wet race after it was originally declared dry. In this instance riders may change bikes mid-race to those equipped with wet tyres, although thus far having been introduced in 2005 the white flag rule has only been enforced three times. This is what is commonly referred to as a flag-to-flag race.
The first instance at the GP of Portugal in 2005 took place so late in the race that the riders stayed on their dry bikes, but at the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island in 2006 and at Le Mans in 2007 the rain fell early and heavily enough to warrant a change of bikes which led to the dramatic spectacle of the entire MotoGP™ grid entering the pit lane mid-race to swap machinery.
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Points
Riders and Constructors (manufacturers) compete for respective FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix titles. Teams, meanwhile, compete for a MotoGP™ Team Championship, which is different to the Constructors Championship as there are different teams competing on machinery from the same manufacturer, such as Yamaha Factory Racing and Tech3 Yamaha.
For riders, the points which count towards their World Championship total will be those gained in each race. For Constructors, only the highest placed motorcycle of a Constructor will gain points, according to the position in the race.
Teams in the MotoGP™ class are in principle comprised of two riders. All points scored by both riders in the Team, including substitutes or replacements, will count towards the Team Championship. In the case of a one rider Team, only the points scored by that rider will count towards the Team Championship. Wild card riders will not score points for the Team Championship.
For each race, Championship points will be awarded on the following scale:
1st 25 points
2nd 20 points
3rd 16 points
4th 13 points
5th 11 points
6th 10 points
7th 9 points
8th 8 points
9th 7 points
10th 6 points
11th 5 points
12th 4 points
13th 3 points
14th 2 points
15th 1 point
Results in all races will count for the Championship classification (this was not always the case historically as, for example, the best six results from a ten race season were counted).
In the event of a tie in the number of points, the final positions will be decided on the basis of the number of best results (number of first places, number of second places etc.). In the event that there is still a tie then, the date in the Championship at which the highest place was achieved will be taken into account with precedence going to the latest result.
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Flags & Lights
During the course of a Grand Prix flags and warning lights are used to advise and warn the riders, providing them with critical information about the race.
The flags are displayed by marshals at various points around the circuit, and riders must always be aware of the messages which the marshals are displaying to them. All flags will be shown waved.
Ignoring flag instructions can result in the following punishments for the riders depending on the seriousness of the infringement: warning, fine, ride through (see the Key Rules section for more information), change of race position (see yellow flag rules below), time penalty, disqualification, withdrawal of Championship points, suspension or exclusion.
Black Flag
Disqualification. Waved at each flag marshal post together with the rider's number, the black flag means the rider must stop at the pits at the end of the current lap and cannot restart. This flag will be presented only after the rider's team has been notified.
Black Flag with Orange Disc
This flag informs the rider that his motorcycle has mechanical problems, which are likely to endanger himself or others, and that he must immediately leave the track.
White Flag
Waved at the flag marshal post during the race, this flag indicates that the riders are allowed to change machine. The Race Direction indicates through the white flag that the track is wet enough to justify the change of bikes and the Grand Prix becomes a wet race, having originally been declared a ‘dry race’ at the start. See the Key Rules section for details of instances of the enforcing of this rule.
White Flag with diagonal Red Cross and Yellow & Red Striped Flag
Rain on this section of the track (waved at the flag marshal post) - this combination of flags simply advises the rider that the track is wet.
Blue Flag
Shown waved at the flag marshal post, this flag indicates to a rider that he is about to be overtaken and he must allow the rider(s) following him to pass him at the earliest opportunity. During the practice sessions, the rider concerned must keep his line and slow down gradually to allow the faster rider to pass him. During the race, the rider concerned is about to be lapped. Also, this flag is shown to a rider leaving the pit lane if traffic is approaching on the track.
Chequered Black & White Flag
This flag should be waved at the finish line on track level to indicate the finish of race or practice session. The race winner is the first rider to see this flag as he crosses the line.
Yellow Flag
Shown waved at each row of the starting grid, this flag indicates that the start of the race is delayed. Shown waved at the flag marshal post, this flag indicates that there is a danger ahead. The riders must slow down and be prepared to stop. Overtaking is forbidden up until the point where the green flag is shown.
Any Infringement of this rule during a practice session will result in the cancellation of the time of the lap during which the infraction occurred. In case of infringement of this rule during the race, the rider must go back the number of positions decided by the Race Direction.
During the final inspection lap, this flag must be waved at the exact place where the flag marshal will be positioned during the practices, warm-ups and races.
Red Flag and Red Lights
When the race or practice is being interrupted, the red flag will be waved at each flag marshal post and the red lights around the track will be switched on. Riders must return slowly to the pits. When the pit-lane exit is closed, this flag will be shown motionless at the pit-lane exit and the light will be switched on. Riders are not allowed to exit the pit lane.
Red Lights
Race Start. The red lights will be switched on at the start line for between 2 and 5 seconds to start each race. ‘The lights go out’ is therefore a favourite phrase for commentators to indicate that a race has started.
At the end of each practice session and warm-up, a red light will be switched on at the finish line.
Green Light
This light must be switched on at the pit lane exit to signal the start of each practice session and of the warm-up, the start of the sighting laps and of the warm up lap.
Green Flag
The track is clear. This flag must be waved at each flag marshal post for the first lap of each practice session and of the warm up, for the sighting lap(s) and for the warm up lap. This flag must be waved by the starter to signal the start of the warm up lap. When the pit-lane exit is open, this flag must be waved at the pit-lane exit.
This flag must also be waved at the flag marshal post immediately after the incident that necessitated the use of one or more yellow flags.
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Governing Bodies
The following organisations are the main parties involved in the organisation and production of the MotoGP™ World Championship:
FIM
The FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motorcyclisme) is the sanctioning body of the MotoGP™ World Championship and is the overall governing body of motorcycling sport at world level. It groups together 93 affiliated National Federations and six Continental Unions.
IRTA
IRTA (International Road-Racing Teams Association) was formed in 1986 and is the association of all the Grand Prix teams, representing their collected voice in the decision-making process. The organisation works alongside the FIM and Dorna to maintain high standards within MotoGP™ and improve the sport overall.
Dorna
Dorna Sports is the company at the heart of MotoGP™, which administrates and organises all Grand Prix. The company manages all commercial aspects of the sport and organises each event, with responsibilities ranging from marketing, media services, security, time-keeping and sponsorship co-ordination to TV production and promotion.
MSMA
The MSMA (Motorcycle Sports Manufacturers’ Association) takes care of the interests of all the constructors involved in motorcycle racing.
Race Direction
Representatives from three of the bodies mentioned above form the Race Direction team at each Grand Prix, with this group of people having responsibility for such decisions as declaring race conditions dry or wet. Race Direction namely comprises the following persons:
An FIM Representative
A Dorna Representative
An IRTA Representative
An IRTA Riders' Representative
Grand Prix Commission
Meanwhile, the Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport), Hervé Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA), has the authority to make changes to the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations (the rules of MotoGP).
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At The Circuit
The MotoGP™ paddock is a busy place bristling with personnel from all the teams and technical suppliers from tyres to suspension to racing apparel. Behind the scenes there are hundreds of people who co-ordinate each race-weekend in terms of organisation, safety measures, logistics, television coverage, commercial activities, VIP facilities, and Media. The Clinica Mobile unit also ensures that MotoGP™ has its own dedicated medical service at each round. You can read more about each aspect in the relevant sections.
Every circuit on the MotoGP™ calendar has its own unique atmosphere, features, history and layout - from the flat, floodlit, desert terrain of Losail International in Qatar to the majestic, winding beauty of Mugello in the Tuscan hills of northern Italy. To find out more about each MotoGP™ venue visit our Calendar & Circuits section.
In order to host a Grand Prix each circuit has to have a number of universal facilities and features, which allow the weekend to run smoothly, safely and uniformly - throughout the 19-date MotoGP season.
Those facilities and features are as follows:
TRACK
Pit-boxes/Garages
A workshop or garage in which each team prepares for the practices, qualifying sessions and races. Amongst other things, pit-boxes contain monitoring equipment, tools, spare parts, tyres, replacement bikes and of course several busy team members. The back doors of the pit-boxes lead to the paddock where the teams’ supply trucks are stationed, while the front of the pit-boxes leads directly onto pit lane.
Pit Lane
The pit lane links the garages to the track itself and is adjacent to the start/finish straight, from which it is separated by the pit wall. The riders use the pit lane to leave and return to their pits and are not permitted to travel at more than 60 km/h in this area of the circuit. The pit lane is overlooked by the media and race control facilities and usually by a main grandstand. For safety reasons, traffic is one way in the pit lane, so in order to reach the starting grid the riders must exit from the end of pit lane and lap the track in order to get back to their starting positions.
Pit wall
Team members can cross the pit lane from their garages to stand next to the pit wall, in order to pass on messages to the riders using their pit boards. As the riders come along the start/finish straight they look for their team members, who via the pit board can relay messages such as time differences between riders, numbers of laps completed, lap times or instructions to return to the pits during practice and qualifying. Only six crew members from each team are permitted on the pit wall at any given moment during the race.
Start/finish straight
Adjacent to the pit lane and overlooked by the media facilities, race control and the main grandstand is the start/finish straight, where races commence and conclude. On the start/finish straight a grid is marked out for the riders instructing them where they will start the race. Of course there is also a finishing line marshalled by a race official, who displays the chequered flag as the riders finish the race.
Parc Fermé
This is a cordoned off area located in the pit lane where the podium finishers (first three) in each race are guided after the action concludes on track. Here selected media are given first access to the riders - mainly for live television interviews - immediately after they have secured their podium finishes.
PADDOCK
The paddock sits behind the main circuit complex adjacent to the pits and is the storage and work area for the majority of people who are involved in Grand Prix. As such it normally hosts:
- The teams’ service trucks (containing offices and supplies)
- Media trucks (containing offices and editing studios for the attending media)
- Hospitality units (teams, organisers and sponsors have hospitality facilities in which staff and guests can relax and dine at each Grand Prix)
- Motorhomes (where the riders rest, sleep and prepare for action)
- Administration offices (Dorna & IRTA offices where the administration and organising of each Grand Prix is co-ordinated)
- Tyre suppliers’ fitting areas (Bridgestone and Dunlop have supply trucks and workspaces where they prepare the compounds for each of their teams)
- Clinica Mobile (MotoGP™’s travelling hospital is always present in the paddock, while each circuit also has its own permanent medical facility)
MAIN CIRCUIT COMPLEX
Race Direction room
Every race in the MotoGP™ season is monitored and stewarded by a team of officials known as Race Direction (see Governing Bodies section for more information). From their monitoring room, which varies in exact location from track to track, but is usually in the service buildings adjacent to the pit-lane, Race Direction views screens relaying images from every inch of the race track and communicates via radio with the various marshals stationed around the track, to ensure that the rules of Grand Prix road racing are applied correctly and that on-track safety is maintained at all times.
Timekeeping room
The timekeeping department of Dorna Sports (see Governing Bodies section) records the performance of every rider in every class in every free practice, qualifying practice, warm-up session and race, throughout the season, to within one thousandth of a second – from an allocated room at each circuit, usually adjacent to the Race Direction facility. Highly accurate live timing services are provided for media throughout the world by the timekeepers via digital recording equipment on each bike, at stations around the track and via the main control centre in the timekeeping room.
Media Centre
The main circuit complex contains a press room (from which journalists from around the world report on the action), a media manager’s office, an interview room, and a press conference room.
STADIUM or GRANDSTANDS
The best seats at the track for the fans are those looking directly on the the start/finish straight from a covered grandstand, which often also contains corporate boxes for private groups and usually sits opposite the main circuit complex buildings. There are often additional stands offering seating dotted around the track, usually looking onto chicanes or key corners where fans can watch the MotoGP™ stars doing battle at the most crucial overtaking points.
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Testing
The testing of MotoGP machinery is an absolutely crucial part of the preparation process for the teams involved in all three MotoGP categories.
Scheduled test sessions at designated circuits in various parts of the world allow teams to test new machinery, collect crucial performance data, gather information about specific venues, try new tyres, undertake race simulations, try out new set-ups and resolve problems with existing machinery.
For the rider, tests also allow them to become accustomed to new machinery, gain experience of riding at the designated venues, improve or maintain fitness levels and familiarise themselves with new colleagues if they have recently moved to a new team.
WINTER TESTING
In addition to test days after the Jerez, Catalunya, and Czech Grand Prix, the `winter´ is an important testing period for the teams. There is an almost two month long ban on any on-track testing for December and most of January, but the months of November and February are vital development periods for MotoGP.
Valencia (after the final race of the year), Sepang (Malaysia), Qatar and Jerez in southern Spain are regular test venues, providing an array of challenges and demands for the riders.
Indeed the selection of testing venues by IRTA and Dorna (see Governing Bodies section) is designed to give the teams and the tyre suppliers a good all-round variation in terms of track layouts and the locations are intended to provide clear, dry weather - as rain hindered practice runs are not generally as useful to teams as dry sessions.
REGULATIONS
The following important regulations apply to testing:
The `Season´ is defined as the period starting the day after the final race of the year and ending the evening after the last race of the year, both dates being inclusive. The Season does not include `Breaks´. A Break is defined as two consecutive weekends where events are not scheduled. The period of the Break extends from 09h00 on the fourth day after the Grand Prix until the following Grand Prix.
The `Winter´ is defined as the rest of the year, i.e. starting five days after the last race of the season and ending 14 days before the first race of the subsequent season, both dates being inclusive. The Winter does not include the `Pause´. The Pause is a period starting on the 1st December of one year and finishing on the 31st January of the following year, both dates being inclusive.
Testing Regulations – MotoGP class
The amount of testing permitted by contracted riders is restricted to:
One three-day official test at a circuit in Europe between the final event and 30 November.
Three of three-day official tests in the period between 01 February and the first event of the season.
A maximum of three tests, each of one day, on the Monday after events designated by Dorna/IRTA in Europe
Any activity authorised by Race Direction
No testing is permitted between 01 December and 31 January, both dates being inclusive.
Test riders, as opposed to contracted riders, will continue to be allowed to test for development purposes at any time and circuit using the "test tyre allocation" available to each team.
Testing Regulations – Moto3 and Moto2 classes
Moto3 and Moto2 classes have the following testing regulations:
At any circuit, with any riders, between the final GP and 30 November
Three pre-season official tests, but only with contracted riders, at circuits in Europe nominated by Dorna/IRTA.
Teams may also designate one GP circuit and one non-GP circuit where they may test at any time from 01 February onwards with any riders, but not within 14 days of an event at the circuit.
Teams may also participate in tests held on Mondays and/or Tuesdays after events in Europe when these days are not required for MotoGP class testing.
Any activity authorised by Race Direction.
No testing is permitted between 01 December and 31 January, both dates being inclusive.
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Bikes
The motorcycles used in MotoGP™ are purpose-built, purebred racing bikes - ‘prototypes’ - which are not available for purchase by the general public and cannot be legally ridden on public roads.
The technical regulations to which Grand Prix teams must adhere to when they build their bikes for MotoGP™ competition provide a simple guide to the type of machinery the riders use.
Engine sizes permitted in each class are as follows:
MotoGP™ - As of the 2012 season, the maximum engine displacement permitted is 1000cc with a maximum of four cylinders and maximum bore of 81 mm - 2-stroke engines are not allowed. A maximum of 5 engines may be used by each permanent contracted rider for all the scheduled races of the season. Penalty for infringement of this means the rider will start from the pit lane 10 seconds after the start of the race.
From 2014, teams not directly entered by one of the major manufacturers as a factory team or satellite outfit, will be categorised in the so-called “Open class”. Whilst all factory teams (MSMA entries) will have to use the spec Magneti Marelli hardware with their own software, the “Open class”, regardless of its mechanical make-up, will run the spec hardware as well as software. From a mechanical standpoint, the “Open class” in 2014 will consists of full-blown prototypes (with Magneti Marelli software), prototype chassis with factory-spec engines, as well as heavily tuned production engines in prototype chassis.
Moto2™ - Moto2 Official Engine, currently supplied by Honda. This is a 600cc 4-stroke engine.
Moto3™- 250cc four-stroke, one cylinder machines.
Apart from the displacement and number of cylinders for each class, engine type is restricted to reciprocating piston engines with no super or turbo charging, while the bike may have no more than six gears.
The following are the minimum weights permitted:
MotoGP™
Up to 800cc – 150 kg
801 - 1000cc - 160 kg
Moto2™ motorcycle + rider 215 kg
Moto3™ motorcycle + rider 148 kg
The teams may add ballast to their bikes to achieve the minimum weights and the weight may be checked at the initial technical control, but the main control of weight is made at the end of practice sessions or at the end of the race. For the Moto2™ and Moto3™ classes the weight checked is the total of the rider with full protective clothing plus the weight of the motorcycle.
In normal circumstances each MotoGP team has two bikes prepared for racing for each rider, so that there is no delay should a problematic bike need to be replaced before a race or before or during a practice or qualifying session. The 2006 season saw the first instance of ‘flag-to-flag’ racing at the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island, during which the MotoGP riders changed machinery mid-race to use bikes with wet tyres. Moto2 and Moto3 classes may have only one bike per rider.
SHOWCASE DESIGN
Grand Prix bikes are produced to win races and to showcase the design and technological capabilities of their manufacturers. The machines are therefore constructed from expensive, hardwearing and extremely light materials such as titanium and reinforced carbon fibre and benefit from the sort of advanced technology (carbon disk brakes, engine management systems, traction control), which does not feature on regular road bikes.
With millions of fans watching each round of the World Championship, when the bikes are on track, they are also showcases for the numerous big brands involved in sponsoring MotoGP™ teams. Each bike displays a race number at the front and back, and usually features the colours and logos of the respective teams’ main sponsor as well as numerous other logos displaying the names of teams’ sub-sponsors.
For more information on bike specifications and technical aspects involved in bike construction, visit Engines, Teams and Manufacturers.
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Teams & Manufacturers
To define a ‘typical’ team competing in MotoGP™ is not simple, but Grand Prix teams in the main consist of financial backers, management staff, administrative staff, press officers, a group of mechanics, and of course the riders themselves.
Teams in the MotoGP™ class are generally comprised of one or more, often two riders, and in addition to the riders' and constructors' (manufacturers) World Championships, the teams compete for a title of their own. All points scored by both riders in a team, including substitutes or replacements, but excluding wildcard entries, count towards the Teams World Championship title - which is presented each year at the end of season MotoGP™ Awards.
TEAM NAMES
The official race titles of the teams are composed of three elements: the name of the manufacturer of the motorcycle or engine, the name of the team and/or the name of one principal sponsor.
Sponsors play a key role in supporting the running of the team as they help to cover costs such as administrative fees, bike lease, insurance, travel and staff salaries. In turn the teams provide their sponsors with global media exposure and an association with one of the world’s most glamorous, popular and thrilling sports.
All teams are members of IRTA (International Road Racing Teams Association), an organisation which was formed in 1986 to represent the participants of Grand Prix with a collected voice. The organisation works alongside the FIM and Dorna (see Governing Bodies section) to maintain high standards within MotoGP™ and to improve the sport overall.
DEFINITIONS
The teams competing in MotoGP vary hugely in terms of their available budgets and their structure in terms of staff numbers, from the big name ‘factory’ teams, to the ‘satellite’ and ‘Open Class’ entries participating in the three elite classes of the MotoGP World Championship.
As the name suggests, the factory teams are those most closely linked with the manufacturer they represent. Teams such as Repsol Honda are the MotoGP™ showcases for the ‘brand’ and the ‘technology’ of the respective manufacturers. Proving your worth in races to millions of motorcycle enthusiasts across the globe cannot be bad for sales.
Private teams, meanwhile, can also have close links with the manufacturers who provide their machinery, but their levels of collaboration with the factory differ from case to case – with some teams being completely separate from factories. Some private teams lease their race bikes from the manufacturers and benefit from direct technical support and supply of parts from the factories dependent on their agreement. For the factories, feedback from these teams also plays a crucial role in their development of competitive racing machinery.
Many private teams throughout the three categories, meanwhile, are operated completely independently from the factories, but again they lease their bikes from the manufacturers - LCR Honda MotoGP™ Team do this in the MotoGP™ class.
Teams operating under ‘Open Class’ regulations are independent teams who benefit from less restrictive rules on the number of engines allowed per season and a greater fuel allowance. The machinery can vary greatly, from purpose built race bikes that resemble prototype machinery, to independent chassis with either GP-spec or highly tuned road engines. The ‘Open Class’ will however run with the spec Magneti Marelli software across all teams.
Click here to see the MotoGP™ teams.
MANUFACTURERS
The manufacturers are:
MotoGP™:
Ducati, Honda and Yamaha as Official Manufacturers. “Open class” entries include FTR, ART (Aprilia) and PBM.
Moto2™:
FTR, Motobi, Kalex, Speed Up, Suter, Tech3 and Caterham.
Moto3™:
Honda, KTM, Mahindra, Kalex, FTR and Husqvarna.
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Safety
As MotoGP™ bikes can reach top speeds of more than 340 km/h, taking every step to protect the riders’ safety is of paramount importance to everyone involved with motorcycle racing’s premier competition.
In 2002, the FIM became concerned at the advances in design and engineering that resulted in higher speeds around the racetrack. For purposes of increasing safety, regulation changes related to weight, limits on fuel and engine capacity were introduced.
GRAND PRIX SAFETY COMMISSION
The FIM (see Governing Bodies section) created the Grand Prix Safety Commission in 2003 following the tragic death of Daijiro Kato at Suzuka in April of that year, to work on improving the safety at each World Championship circuit.
The original committee included Kato’s former teammate Sete Gibernau and fellow Japanese rider Nobuatsu Aoki, while the current incarnation includes Franco Uncini (FIM Safety Officer), Mike Webb (Race Director), Javier Alonso and Carmelo Ezpeleta (of MotoGP organizers Dorna).
Loris Capirossi (MotoGP Safety Adviser), though not part of the committee, will play an indirect role in proceedings, giving his expert input throughout the season.
At each Grand Prix, the Safety Commission meets to consider proposals on any changes that could be made at the respective circuits to improve safety. Their recommendations can include adaptations to track layout, changes to asphalt extension zones, enlarging gravel run-offs, alterations to safety barriers and tyre walls, the improvement of medical facilities and accessibility, and similar additional safety measures.
The day before each Grand Prix the FIM Safety Commission check every inch of the respective circuit on foot, before rechecking it each morning of the Grand Prix weekend by car - ahead of the relevant practice sessions or races.
The safety officers then follow all the free practices, qualifying sessions and races at trackside, via television monitors in the Race Control Centre, in their roles as members of the Race Direction - the body which oversees the marshalling of each race and can impose penalties varying from a warning to suspension or exclusion if specific safety rules are violated (See Key Rules section).
SAFETY CAR
The start of each race, meanwhile, is monitored closely by the Official Safety Car, supplied by official MotoGP™ partner BMW.
The Safety Car leads the riders on the sighting lap, during which the Safety Car driver inspects the state of the track one final time before the race commences, checking that it is clear of oil, fuel or other debris and is in constant communication with Race Direction should anything require their attention.
Once the sighting lap is complete the Safety Car takes its place at the back of the grid and follows the riders round on the first lap of the race, closely observing the scene ahead, as it is on lap one when closely grouped riders are logically most likely to collide with each other. When a multiple crash occurred on the first lap at the 2006 Grand Prix of Catalunya for example, the Safety Car was on hand to provide immediate assistance and instructions, reporting from the ground at close quarters.
Once the first lap has been completed the Safety Car will only reappear if there is an interruption to the race caused by a crash or rain, in which case the riders will also see the relevant safety signals around the circuit (see Flags and Light section). The riders are also aware that if they see the Safety Car on track other than on lap one, they must proceed with caution and not overtake.
SPECIFIC SAFETY RULES
In addition, there are some specific rules that direct team members and riders in order to ensure their safety - and the safety of their fellow competitors:
- Riders must ride in a responsible manner, which does not cause danger to other competitors or participants, either on the track or in the pit-lane.
- If the rider encounters a problem with his bike, which will result in his retirement from the practice or the race, then he should not attempt to tour at reduced speed to the pits but should pull off the track and park his machine in a safe place as indicated by the marshals. Stopping on the track during practices and races is forbidden.
- Riders must not ride or push their motorcycles in the opposite direction of the race on the circuit - whether on the track or in the pit lane - unless doing so under the direction of an official.
- A speed limit of 60 km/h is enforced in the pit lane at all times and any rider who exceeds the pit lane speed limit during a race will be penalised with a ride through (see Key Rules section).
- The maximum number of team personnel per rider in the working area in front of the pits is limited to eight for MotoGP™ and six for Moto2™ and Moto3.
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Medical Facilities
Racing motorcycles at more than 340 km/h can be a risky business at times and the number of crashes during practice or races over the course of the season often reaches more than 500 – so medical assistance onsite at each circuit is of vital importance.
Seemingly defying the laws of gravity, riders lean into the track while moving at phenomenal speed and sometimes lose control of the front or rear end of their bikes and take a tumble, often sliding across the asphalt or gravel traps to safety at trackside.
CLINICA MOBILE
Some crashes are more serious than others but the number of rider referrals to hospital in emergencies is now very low (4-5 per season in recent years). This is thanks to the increasing safety features of the riders’ protective equipment, the increasing reliability of their machinery, improved safety features, permanent medical facilities at the circuits and in no small part the work of the dedicated staff at MotoGP’s travelling medical facility – Clinica Mobile.
Dr Claudio Costa and his Clinica Mobile unit celebrated 30 years of World Championship involvement in 2007, and have become part of the fabric of MotoGP, as the ever present Italian and his dedicated staff play crucial roles at each Grand Prix.
At some stage or another all Grand Prix riders have visited the famous little mobile hospital, but it is not just the competitors who occasionally need help. Everybody working at the circuit on Grand Prix weekends can seek advice or treatment at Clinica Mobile, from journalists, stewards and chefs to mechanics and team managers. Whether the injury is a broken leg for a MotoGP™ star or sore throat for a commentator, the Clinica is always ready to provide help.
HISTORY
In the early days of World Championship road racing medical facilities were often far from adequate, while safety standards at tracks were nowhere near the level they have been brought up to in the modern era.
Dr Claudio Costa, the son of a race organiser, decided to do something about it in the early 1970s. The travelling medical facility has its origins in Italy, where Dr Claudio’s father Checco was the organiser of the first 200-mile race at Imola which took place in April 1972. Costa Senior asked his son to manage the medical facilities for the historical event and Dr Claudio soon realised that he and his team of specialists from Bologna could be of assistance at Grand Prix venues throughout the world.
Those early days were far from easy for Dr Costa’s valiant staff, travelling to each Grand Prix by rail, road and sea, carrying boxes of medical equipment to attend to patients.
A mobile clinic that could be transported to each event was clearly what was needed and five seasons later it became a reality when a Clinica Mobile unit took its place in the paddock at the Salzburgring in Austria on May 1st, 1977.
On that very first weekend the medics onsite were called into action when five riders were badly hurt during the same incident in the 250cc class, including Franco Uncini, who was given life saving emergency treatment. Sadly, the medics attending to Swiss rider Hans Stadelmann discovered that his injuries were tragically so serious they proved to be lethal - despite immediate assistance.
Were it not for Clinica Mobile many more riders may have suffered the same fate over the decades which have followed, with the lives of Uncini, Philippe Coulon, Michael Rougerie and Virginio Ferrari almost certainly saved by the travelling doctors in those early years.
Since the 1970s there have been five new editions of the Clinica Mobile unit, as it has evolved to keep pace with medical advancement often thanks to donations from the riders who have received treatment from Dr Costa and his team. The esteem in which the facility is held has been illustrated by a blessing in person of one unit by Pope John Paul II in Rome in 1988 and a visit from King Juan Carlos of Spain to a later incarnation of the clinic in 1997.
PRESENT DAY
The role of Clinica Mobile has also changed with the times, with the introduction of a Medical Director - Dr. Claudio Macchiagodena, and the building of permanent medical centres at each circuit to provide the equipment, staff and hospital back-up to deal with life threatening emergencies – the importance of which was driven home years earlier by the work of Dr Costa and his assistants. There are now also helicopter ambulances available to transport any stricken riders to the nearest specialist unit should such a service be required.
The present day clinic was opened in Jerez in 2002 by a group of World Champions including five-time title winner Mick Doohan - a rider who of course is intrinsically linked to the history of Clinica Mobile. The popular Australian Doohan was treated by the clinic’s staff when he suffered an accident in 1992 which was so serious that he nearly lost a leg, before returning to Dr Costa’s treatment table in 1999 with another leg injury which ultimately resulted in his retirement.
The 24-hour availability of medical assistance at trackside is of reassurance to everybody who works in MotoGP™ and is a testament to the hard work and vision of Dr Claudio Costa and his team.
Since the 2012 season, there has been a new addition on the form of Medical Intervention Vehicles. The FIM Medical Code and the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations require the provision of Medical Rapid Intervention Vehicles. These vehicles provide fallen and injured riders with appropriate and all necessary medical treatment with the minimum of delay to supplement the initial assessment and interventions that may be provided by the personnel from an adjacent medical ground post or ambulance prior to the transfer of the injured rider to the medical centre or hospital.
In addition, in order to ensure consistency and familiarity at each event for the riders and the teams in different countries, a small team of doctors experienced in the immediate management of significant trauma from the Instituto Universitario USP Dexeus in Barcelona was engaged to support, supplement and assist the existing medical service provided locally and their role is in the provision of trackside assistance in the event of serious injury until transfer to the medical centre or hospital.
The deployment of the medical rapid intervention vehicles is by the Race Director in the event of a red flag situation when the race or practice session is stopped on the recommendation of and in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Medical Director and the Clerk of the Course depending on the circuit, the nature and location of the incident.
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Helmets
It’s unthinkable that a MotoGP™ rider would be seen on track without the most essential of safety items – a good crash helmet. MotoGP™ helmets, along with the riders’ boots, leathers, gloves and reinforced chest and spinal protection pads, are developed to the highest safety standards with the latest technology.
In a sport where the participants reach speeds of more than 340 km/h, and crashes are a regular occurrence, reliable protective headgear is of paramount importance for all World Championship competitors.
BASIC STRUCTURE
Racing helmets have the same basic structure as retail helmets and the specific differences depend on the needs of the rider concerned in terms of comfort, shape and size. Also, the internal accessories required may differ, often depending on weather conditions.
For the helmet manufacturers, the MotoGP™ World Championship - with its global media exposure to millions of fans - is a great way to market their helmets, whilst the data they gather from the riders helps them to improve the products they make available to the public.
Most riders have at least four helmets with them at each event, with one being rain specific and modified to prevent ‘fogging’ or ‘misting’, and replacements always being required should the main helmet become damaged.
COLOURFUL DESIGNS
In addition to protecting the lives of the riders, the helmets they use have become the key element of the riders’ outfits through which they can express themselves creatively. Many riders have flamboyant helmet designs reflecting their personalities and tastes.
The distinctive colours and the clarity of the respective race number or name of the rider on his helmet are essential for identification by everyone from the race officials and teams to the commentators and fans – the view otherwise blurred by the intensity and speed of MotoGP’s busy race circuits.
The drawings and designs with which the riders personalise their helmets can reflect their character, display their favourite mascots and national colours or send messages to fans, loved ones and rivals. Valentino Rossi’s famous Aldo Drudi designed AGV helmets are the stuff of racing folklore with a new design seemingly every other week, while his rivals also have the occasional gem in their collection such as Nicky Hayden’s “Easy Rider” edition or Jorge Lorenzo’s “Green Mamba”. Helmets also carry the name of their manufacturer and occasionally sponsor names, making them true explosions of colour.
KEY ELEMENTS
Of course the most fundamental purpose of a helmet is to protect the face and head of the riders should they crash. With regard to technical specifications the key elements affecting a helmet’s design are aerodynamics, comfort, security, visibility and weight.
The materials used to produce helmets must be lightweight yet ultra resistant to impact. The lighter and more comfortably fitting around the face a helmet is the better the rider will feel. The shape and aerodynamic design should permit penetration of the air efficiently while a good ventilation system and well constructed interior will allow the rider to breathe, hear and see correctly.
Helmets are composed of four parts: outer shell, interior padding, visor and fastening mechanism.
For the exterior, materials such as glass fibre, carbon, Kevlar and polyurethane are combined to produce a casing that dissipates energy after a collision, avoiding the transfer of the impact to the head. Manufacturers undertake rigorous collision tests, including the use of hammers, to assess the strength of the outer layers.
The interior padding and covering is of course just as crucial to the protection of the skull, and the cushioning material must be adhered to the outer framework securely whilst also measured up perfectly for the shape of the respective rider’s head and facial features, such as the temple, brow, nose and jaw. Acoustics are also important for the rider in order to hear his bike and those of any nearby competitors, so the helmets have special features to allow in the right depth and level of sound.
VISORS
The visors on the front of the helmets are constructed of specially treated plastic, which serves two purposes. The first is to protect the rider from any airborne objects such as insects, raindrops, debris from the track or other bikes and occasionally even birds. The second function is to avoid misting or fogging, especially in humid or rainy conditions, something which is aided by the high-tech ventilation systems the manufacturers build into the helmets.
Even with the best ventilation technology riders will always perspire, so many use helmet dryers to reduce moisture from the interior of their headwear during breaks or after sessions.
Finally, the fastening mechanisms have to be absolutely failsafe – keeping the helmet in exactly the required position, without being uncomfortable.
The following helmet manufacturers have a regular presence in the MotoGP World Championship: AGV, Airoh, Arai, HJC, Nolan, Scorpion, Shark, Shoei, and X-Lite.
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Leathers
Race leathers provide the first line of defence for competitors in MotoGP™ when they suffer the occasional crashes and slides that all riders go through. With corner speeds quicker than ever and lean angles becoming increasingly acute, the importance of a good set of leathers cannot be underestimated.
The most common way a rider comes off his MotoGP™ bike is to lose control of the front or rear tyre when leaning into a corner. This usually results in the rider sliding along the asphalt and onto the gravel at the side of the racetrack, sometimes apparently seamlessly, though almost always at high speeds. Clearly doing this with exposed flesh, normal clothing or inadequate leather protection would result in massive damage to the skin and other parts of the body.
PROTECTION
The various manufacturers supplying the leathers to the MotoGP™ participants therefore design the outfits to be as protective as possible – but they must also be aerodynamic, breathable, comfortable, durable, flexible, light and water resistant.
The MotoGP™ leather suits are mainly made of kangaroo leather, which is more resistant, more flexible and weighs less than cow hide. The leathers have to provide strong resistance and protection from abrasion and impact in particularly vulnerable areas such as the back, elbows and knees - whilst also giving the riders the elasticity they need when utilizing their lightening quick reflexes.
Of course the riders’ leathers also have to work perfectly in tandem with the helmets to stabilise the head, so the ‘humped’ back protectors the race outfits carry fit snugly against the helmets allowing air to glide over them aerodynamically when the riders are in the customary hunched riding position. When stood upright and off their racing machinery the back hump built into the back of the leathers can clearly be seen, but they are also fairly flexible to allow movement and bending of the back - in the right direction.
The built-in spinal column protection units and the chest protectors the leathers carry mainly use carbon, kevlar and titanium combinations to safeguard the riders without weighing them down. Indeed the overall weight of a Grand Prix rider’s leathers will of course vary in relation to his physical stature, with the entire weight of the leathers usually totalling around 3kg to 3.5kg
BOOTS, GLOVES, KNEE & ELBOW SLIDERS
Leather manufacturers generally provide riders with their entire outfits, excluding helmets, which means supplying specially designed boots, gloves and knee sliders, which are also essential for safety.
Providing sturdy but flexible and ultra-light boots, for example, ensures they do not weigh the rider down and they reduce rather than inflict injuries in instances of high speed crashes.
Likewise, the gloves should be light enough not to hinder the feel of the handlebars, with reinforcements at the points where there is most risk of abrasion or fracture – for example the thumb, wrist and palm.
The riders also wear knee sliders which are separate from the rest of their leathers as they regularly make contact with the asphalt as the riders lean into corners. They therefore have to be replaced more regularly than the rest of the protective clothing, often after each session for the MotoGP™ riders who can get through 100 pairs in a season, while Moto3™ riders use fewer as their knees touch the ground less.
Knee sliders are made of thermoplastic compounds and they guide the riders who rely on the feel of the ground as they slide through corners at lean angles over 60 degrees, brushing the surface of the track as they do so. And with lean angles becoming ever greater and riding styles evolving, some riders now also wear elbow sliders, as they lean their bodies further off the bike towards the ground in search of those extra tenths.
Plastic wet weather rain suits can be worn by the riders over their suits to prevent the leather from absorbing water and becoming sodden, which could double the weight of the outfit and would be a clear hindrance to any competitor.
COOLING SYSTEMS
Leathers can also be fitted with cooling systems, to keep the internal temperature bearable when the heat is on. Systems such as cooling circuits on vests, which make contact with the chest and back, worn under the suit and circulating gel-cooled water (powered by ultra-light batteries and micro-pumps inserted into the back hump) are used by certain manufacturers. Suits can also carry re-hydrating drinks - stored in the back hump and linked with the helmet.
Leathers often also feature data acquisition systems, where information is gathered directly from the body of the wearer, allowing the technicians to analyse the physiological effects experienced by a rider during his time on the bike, whether in testing or during a race.
Using a series of patches mounted on the suit or placed directly onto the skin, sensors can provide measurements which allow for useful analysis on pressure points, gravitational loads experienced, rider pulse and body temperature. The sensors can record the specific impact sustained should a rider crash, which can provide useful insights for technicians to make improvements to designs of future incarnations of riders’ leathers.
COLOUR & DESIGN
Finally, as with riders’ helmets, the colours, designs and overall appearances are a combination of team liveries, sponsor logos, rider numbers and personal and national motifs - with each rider’s distinctive outfit helping everyone from race officials and fellow competitors to commentators and team members to distinguish who is who on track.
The following leather manufacturers regularly supply riders on the MotoGP™ grid, Berik, Arlen Ness, BKS, Alpinestars, Dainese, Puma, Revit, Spidi and Spyke.
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Wild Cards
Wild card entries are a regular feature in each of the three MotoGP™ categories and are an additional element that adds to the excitement of Grand Prix racing.
At the start of each race weekend the names of the regular, contracted riders for each team appear on the event entry list and they are sometimes accompanied by the names of wild card riders.
Often these guest riders are local to the Grand Prix and are being given a chance to build on their previous experience of their home track in a more competitive environment, to benefit from support from the home crowd and to raise their profile by competing with the international elite. Indeed, in the smaller cylinder classes in particular, the wild card system is a useful way to give local youngsters their Grand Prix debuts on tracks they are familiar with.
As far as the teams are concerned, providing a rider with a wild card ride can boost a manufacturer’s representation in a ‘home’ or otherwise important Grand Prix, allowing a team to gather more data over the course of a weekend and give them a clearer indication of a rider’s ability if they are considering recruiting him on a permanent basis. Wild card riders cannot however score points for the Teams World Championship.
The rules on wild card entries are as follows:
Moto2 and Moto3 wild cards:
In each class there may be a maximum of two wild card entries. Wild cards may be proposed by an FMN, the FIM or Dorna. Wild card riders must be holders of an FIM “one event Road Racing Grand Prix” licence issued on behalf of any FMN and entries must be submitted to the FIM, on the official entry form issued by the FIM, at least 45 days before the event.
MotoGP wild cards:
There may be a maximum of two wild card entries. Wild cards may be proposed by an FMN, the FIM, the MSMA or Dorna. Wild card riders must be holders of an FIM “one event Road Racing Grand Prix” licence issued on behalf of any FMN.
Wild card appearances take place throughout the MotoGP™ season but are particularly common at the various Grands Prix in Italy, Japan and Spain due to the influence of teams, sponsors and manufacturers - and the plethora of young riding talent in each of those nations.
Japan’s Grand Prix in particular has catapulted a number of wild card riders to stardom by giving them the opportunity to display their abilities on the World stage.
One of the most memorable World Championship performances in the modern era by a wild card came from the now sadly deceased Norick Abe at the 1994 Grand Prix at Suzuka. At just 19, Abe made headlines with a fearless display in which he did battle with the likes of Mick Doohan and Kevin Schwantz before falling just a few laps from the finish line.
That performance earned Abe a regular ride with Kenny Roberts’ Marlboro Yamaha team and just two years later he gained his first win at Suzuka, becoming a national hero in the process as the first Japanese rider to be victorious in a World Championship race since 1982. Abe sadly died in a road accident in 2007.
The late Daijiro Kato also first made his name as a wild card. The MotoGP™ Legend took the world by surprise when he finished third in the 250cc class at the 1996 Grand Prix in Suzuka before winning the quarter litre category race there in 1997 and 1998, each time as a wild card entry. Indeed, in the 1998 race he was followed across the line by two additional Japanese wild cards, Shinya Nakano and Naoki Matsudo – the only time three wildcards have filled the podium at a Grand Prix.
It is not just in Japan that riders spring to prominence as wild cards. Italian rider Stefano Bianco made history in the first race of the 2000 season at Phillip Island as the youngest debutant in World Championship history, at the age of 15 years and two days. He still holds the record for the youngest ever wildcard appearance, but Jorge Lorenzo became the youngest ever rider, at 15 years and one day, when he joined the 125cc class full-time in 2002.
Meanwhile, one of the current starlets of the smaller classes, Pol Espargaro, made history as a wild card in the Catalunya GP in 2006 when he finished 13th to become the youngest ever point scorer in a Grand Prix at the age of just 15 years and eight days. He went on to race in the last six Grands Prix of 2006 and as of 2007 he has been a full-time World Championship participant.
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Brakes
Motorcycles must have a minimum of one brake on each wheel that is independently operated. In the Moto3 and Moto2 classes, only brake discs of ferrous materials are allowed. In the MotoGP class, carbon brake discs may be a maximum diameter of 320mm and only 2 standard choices of disc mass are permitted. As an exception for the 2012 season only, machines entered by a CRT team were allowed to use carbon brake discs of other sizes. A current exception exists in Motegi, where due to the hard braking nature of the circuit, bikes may use discs up to 340mm in diameter.
A reliable set of brakes comes in handy when you are trying to win a race on a bike which can travel at speeds in excess of 340 km/h.
While tyres change from session to session, brakes can be replaced if they are damaged or become wet - though they are more permanent elements of a rider’s armoury and are just as important in allowing him to take corners at the optimum speed and angle.
Braking patterns, in equal measure to pure acceleration, dictate how races are won and lost as a rider’s skill and the reliability of his brakes allow him to run the fastest ‘race line’ and outmanoeuvre his opponents.
CORNER SPEEDS
Corner speeds are crucial to success in MotoGP™: If a rider can apply his brakes later and at a higher speed than his fellow competitors, he can overtake those in front of him and lap quicker than the rest of the grid.
The front end brakes do most of the ‘stopping’ work, with riders controlling their cornering mainly through the leading tyre and as much as 90% of the bike’s weight transferred through the front wheel as its brakes are applied. Therefore it is not uncommon to see the back wheel leave the ground (fish-tailing) and the rear wheel and brakes do much less to guide the bike while the front brake is being used.
CARBON OR STEEL
MotoGP teams use disc brakes on their racebikes, technology which first emerged in the 1970s and has been in development ever since. Early versions of these discs were steel only and did not work very well in rainy conditions, but were later developed to produce progressive braking in both the wet and the dry.
Now, conversely, steel disc brakes are used by MotoGP™ teams only in the wet as they have a more modern and efficient solution to be used on dry tracks – carbon brakes.
The benefit of carbon discs are that they weigh 750g to 800g for the same diameter as their 1,200g to 1,600g steel discs counterparts. These figures may seem trivial but where cutting edge racing technology is concerned the half kilos soon add up.
Disc brakes consist of disc mounted on the wheel and callipers, which are fork mounted and carry the pads. The pads make contact with the discs and slow the rotation of the wheel when the rider applies the brakes. The rider operates the brakes via a standard handlebar mounted lever, but foot or left thumb controlled rear brakes are also used.
WEIGHT SAVING
With carbon brakes, the discs, callipers and pads are all lighter, and twin disc systems, with a disc on each side of the wheel, are common – so in total carbon discs can save more than two kilos overall.
Less weight means less inertia, which reduces the ‘gyroscopic’ effect that can counteract the rider's efforts to get the bike to change direction. This essentially means carbon discs make it easier to change direction, as the wheel, particularly the front wheel, is lighter when it has carbon brakes fitted.
Carbon discs can also offer a slight improvement in braking performance and consistency compared to steel systems. Once they reach optimum braking temperature carbon discs should feel the same to the rider on lap 25 as they do on lap 2, but with steel discs the feeling the rider has changes over the course of a race.
Although the lighter carbon discs are therefore preferable to their steel alternatives when they are working correctly, they are far more temperature sensitive. Their functionality is virtually non-existent until the discs and pads are heated to their premium operating temperature, and while they heat up quickly, rider caution is required during sighting and warm-up laps, and even the first couple of corners in a race.
WEATHER
If the weather is dry and cold, or if the bike is being used on a faster track where the brakes are not applied regularly, the discs can be cooled considerably by airflow so heat shrouds can be fitted to help them maintain heat levels.
But with water involved it is a different story, as carbon discs will not reach their operating temperature and will therefore cease to function correctly in wet conditions.
The solution in this instance is to resort to steel discs and this also requires different callipers and pads which means more weight - and alterations to the bike have to be made in a time pressured period so the parts have to be easily detachable.
Carbon brakes are not cheap, mainly because they take from three to six months to make as they have to be ‘cooked’ and constructed slowly - which combined with their limitations in the rain means they are rarely used on production road bikes.
FRICTION
The only way to achieve maximum braking and turning efficiency is to couple the work of the discs with friction. Upon applying the brakes, the tyre is pressed against the track, effectively increasing the area in contact with the asphalt and in turn increasing the amount of friction or stopping force, which is being applied. If the rider can do this late in the corner, as close to the apex as possible, he spends less time slowing down and reaches the point where he can accelerate out of the corner more quickly than his opponents.
MANUFACTURERS
The brakes used in MotoGP™ are produced by two companies, Brembo and Nissin, and each set of disc brakes costs several thousand euros. Fortunately for MotoGP™ teams a bike may only require six to eight carbon discs per season.
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Engines
There is plenty of technical language used to describe the engines which power the racing prototypes on which the riders participate in the MotoGP™ World Championship, but most of it is fairly easy to understand if taken piece by piece and explained simply, even if the machinery itself is technologically advanced and complex in nature.
DEFINITIONS
2-stroke and 4-stroke - 2-stroke engines were predominant in the World Championship until the switch to the 990cc 4-stroke class in 2002, reflecting production trends, with 2-stroke bikes being the popular choice from the 1960s through to the 1990s.
If 2-stroke engines proved more powerful than 4-strokes with similar engine capacities and similar rev counts, 4-strokes engines are more energy efficient and greener. This is because 4-strokes have a dedicated lubrication system, while 2-stroke engines burn a mixture of oil and gas.
As most manufacturers shifted their production towards bigger 4-stroke powered machines, the move to a 4-stroke prototype formula only seemed natural.
The key difference between the two types of engine lies in the combustion process: the four ‘strokes’ refer to the intake, compression, combustion and exhaust movements which occur during two crankshaft rotations per working cycle.
The 2-stroke internal combustion engine differs from the 4-stroke engine in that it completes the same four processes in only two strokes of the piston.
Single cylinder, two cylinder, four cylinder and six cylinder engines - While technical rules restrict the Moto3™ World Championship to single cylinder engines and Moto2™ to the Official Engine, MotoGP™ bikes were allowed from one to six cylinders or more up until 2012 when a limit of 4 cylinders with a maximum cylinder bore measurement of 81 mm was introduced.
According to the FIM rulebook, the number of cylinders dictates what the minimum accepted weight of the bike will be, and ballast may be added to achieve it. Due to unit cylinder performance and power-to-weight ratio, all the MotoGP™ manufacturers opted to use four cylinder engines even before the regulation was introduced.
However, those engines come in different forms, as some manufacturers, such as Ducati, Aprilia and Honda currently opt for V4 architecture, while Yamaha, BMW and Kawasaki have developed ‘inline four’ engines.
With V4’s the cylinders and pistons are aligned separately to each other, so that they take on a ‘V-shape’ from an angle looking along the crankshaft axis. This configuration decreases the total height, length and weight of the engine, in comparison with straight engine inline equivalents.
The choice of engine architecture has as much to do with design philosophy and the manufacturer’s heritage as with weight transfer and goals in terms of bike ‘rideability’.
Meanwhile, the terms 250cc(Moto3™), 600cc (Moto2™), 1000cc (MotoGP™) used to describe the three current categories in the World Championship simply refer to the ‘engine displacement’ or ‘cubic capacity’ of the respective machinery.
DEVELOPMENT THROUGH THE AGES
The biggest change in the premier class over the years has been the switch from 4-stroke to 2-stroke engines and back to 4-stroke in 2002, reflecting the need for technical progression and innovation in the sport - in keeping with the development of production bikes.
In the early days of the World Championship the premier class was dominated by 4-stroke machinery from mostly European manufacturers. The early 4-stroke engines were cumbersome, heavy, required a lot of maintenance and were never the most reliable of units.
Through the 1960s Japanese manufacturers such as Suzuki and Yamaha started to make their presence felt in the smaller cylinder classes with 2-stroke machinery. The lighter 2-stroke presented more possibilities for tuning and was seen as the future of the sport.
Although the 1970s and even 1980s saw a period of technical change that permitted even private ‘built in the garage’ motorcycles to go Grand Prix racing, it was the might of the Japanese engineering and initiative that would soon provide the most competitive racing tools.
THE EMERGENCE OF 2-STROKE
As the Japanese slowly forged ahead with 2-stroke technology, the 4-strokes would fade out in a matter of seasons as the 500cc four-cylinder 2-stroke became available on a production scale from Japan.
With the 2-strokes becoming more reliable and more powerful, the engines actually threw more emphasis onto the rest of the motorcycle and evolution began at a rapid rate through the 1980s. Tyres, suspension, aerodynamics and even chassis design all saw a wealth of development.
In the early 1990s, speeds had reached a peak in MotoGP. Light, agile, and extremely hard to ride, the 500cc bikes were faster than ever to ride as an all-Japanese premier class sought to push the performances of the machines to the limit and new heights. By 1992 a breakthrough emerged when Honda started to experiment with a revised firing order on their all-conquering NS500.
BIG BANG & THE SCREAMER
Dubbed ‘Big Bang’, the revised crankshaft mechanism placed an emphasis more on acceleration than outright top speed and Mick Doohan went on to dominate the class on the new bike. Honda also produced a V-twin version of their four cylinder motorcycle which helped privateers remain competitive against the factory bikes and for the first time technical emphasis leaned more towards corner speed than outright horse-power; a trait that remains to a certain degree in MotoGP™ today.
By the late 1990s Doohan had reverted back to the ‘harsher’ engine order in his quest for more speed. Nicknamed the ‘Screamer’, this and the ‘Big Bang’ version of the NS500 won World Championships from 1994 to 1999.
In 2000 Suzuki enjoyed a last hoorah on the RGV 500 2-stroke; a motorcycle developed from predecessors that had originally dominated the class back in the late 1970s and early 80s.
4-STROKE 990cc
With 2-stroke technology reaching a plateau, improved 4-stroke engines marked the way forward. The MotoGP™ landscape changed in 2002 in order to ensure that there was continual technological evolution, and 990cc 4-strokes were allowed to compete with the 500cc 2-strokes. The 4-strokes were immediately competitive, and by 2003 no 2-strokes remained on the grid. The following six seasons produced a massive acceleration in the technical possibilities with variable cylinder structures and quantities, telemetry, data collection and manually adjustable engine mapping switches now standard.
MotoGP is now a highly evolved and scientific competition with traction control and electronics playing an important role in the delivery of the power and adjusting the balance of the motorcycle to make the best use of the engine’s performance.
The MotoGP™ category saw the engine size reduced from 990cc to 800cc in 2007, with an aim to reduce speed. While the speeds remained the same, they did so through the size and dynamics of the motors placing more focus on the corner speed of the machinery, as opposed to the brute power of the 990s.
In line with cost reduction policies, engine restrictions have been enforced since 2009. A regulation stating that each rider is allowed only 6 engines at their disposal for the whole season commenced in 2010. Limiting the number of engines means the manufacturers have to produce more reliable powerplants, which calls for reducing their power output and revs, hence slowing down the overall increase in performance of the bikes.
A move to a 1000cc formula in 2012 was accompanied with further restrictions than were in place during the 990cc era. The number of cylinders is limited to 4 and the maximum cylinder bore (the diameter of the cylinder) is 81mm for bikes with a minimum weight of 160kg.
SMALLER CLASSES
The former 125 and 250cc classes were hosts to 2-stroke engines, being the original homes of the 2-stoke. Firms such as Derbi, Kreidler and Bultaco were 50cc, 80cc and 125cc competitors with 2-strokes in the 1960s, and 2-strokes littered the 350cc division.
Outside the premier class, 2-strokes permitted the most cost-effective means of racing and being competitive. The 2-stroke prospered with carburetion, tuning and set-up becoming a specialised skill that saw a host of names in the Grand Prix paddock making their names through the late 1970s, 80s and into the 90s.
Today, the general consensus is that the limits of 2-stroke technology have largely been reached in all classes, and therefore 2012 was the dawn of a technically relevant new era, with four stroke motorcycles filling all three fields of the championship.
The Moto2™ class replaced the 250cc category from the start of 2010. The bikes are powered by a 600c 4-stroke spec Honda engine that produces around 140bhp, with a prototype chassis free from limitations of design and construction.
The 125cc category was replaced with Moto3™ from 2012. These are single cylinder, four-stroke engines produced by any manufacturer, with a crankshaft speed limit of 14,000rpm and a spec ECU.
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Tyres
One of the most remarkable things about World Championship motorcycle racing is the way in which the transfer of the phenomenal power of the MotoGP™ bikes takes place through tyre-contact patches not much bigger than the size of a credit card.
In comparison with racing cars, motorcycling’s four-wheeled counterparts benefit from having roughly ten times as much tyre-contact surface - so it is an understatement to say that with 260 horsepower at their disposal tyre selection is critical for MotoGP riders. The power delivery to contact surface ratio is much greater than in any form of car racing.
There are two tyre manufacturers working in the World Championship, Japanese company Bridgestone in MotoGP™ and Dunlop from the United Kingdom in the Moto2™ and Moto3™ classes.
New tyre regulations brought in for 2009 saw the MotoGP™ class move to a single tyre supplier, for cost and safety reasons, with Bridgestone selected for the job. This single tyre rule brought with it the need for measures to ensure parity, and new regulations for the system were announced at the end of 2008. The document in full can be seen at the FIM Official website.
Bridgestone are in charge of the production of the tyres used at each Grand Prix, but their allocation to each of the MotoGP™ riders is down to the Technical Director and staff, who hand out the rubber on a random basis uninfluenced by Bridgestone, teams and riders. The allocation process takes place the day before the start of practice (Thursday in the vast majority of cases) and cannot be changed after 5pm.
In both Moto2™ and Moto3, Dunlop are the sole tyre suppliers.
TYRE MANUFACTURE
The compounds used in MotoGP™ are combinations of synthetic material and naturally sourced rubber which is vulcanised and transformed into latex. A typical race tyre comprises rubber, high tech plastic fibres, resins and minerals, combined to produce the highest level of performance.
TYRE CHOICE
The choice of exactly which compound to use during a race is undertaken by the teams following consultation of the data collected previously at the track by themselves and the tyre supplier. Furthermore, conversations with their riders based on knowledge of the circuit, weather conditions and the 'feel' of the bike on test days, free practice, qualifying and the pre-race warm-up sessions also affects which tyres are selected.
On test days and during practice sessions riders often undertake `race simulations´ where they ride with the sort of tyre they would expect to use during the race at whichever track they are practicing at, undertaking the number of laps a race entails at the respective venue. These exercises are crucial for their team and manufacturers in terms of the data they yield and the feedback they produce.
For races, a critical balance has to be found between grip and the endurance of the tyre - with all available data being used to make the decision on whether to opt for a soft ‘gripping’ tyre which will permit quicker speeds and faster lap times but wear out quickly, a harder, less ‘sticky’ tyre which will be more durable but will not assist the rider as much in achieving maximum velocity, or a tyre somewhere in between the two extremes.
In 2009 the new Bridgestone tyres in MotoGP™ had a wider operating window in terms of track temperature and were thus suitable for more varied conditions, brought about by the fact that the number of tyres and compounds available to each rider at each Grand Prix is now more restricted. For 2012 Bridgestone brought in a new compound to improve warm-up performance, which was a concern of many riders in the 2011 season.
Race tyres are designed to perform at optimum level for a race distance of around 120km.
Normal race tyres are slicks, which differ from the tyres used on everyday vehicles in that they are far more adhesive to the ground but far less durable. Race tyres can vary tremendously and are chosen according to the expected temperature, the type of asphalt, the demands of the bike and the riding style of riders.
To complicate matters still further, the requirements for front and rear tyres can vary massively from a technical perspective and getting the choice right at both ends is critical to success on the track.
WET RACES
For wet conditions, special wet tyres with full treads can be used, but they deteriorate quickly if the track dries out.
Races are declared by Race Direction as either wet or dry before they start. Previously, if a race started dry and rain fell, riders or officials could red-flag (stop) the race and either restart or resume on wet tyres. In 2005, a flag-to-flag rule was introduced which stated that if rain begins on a previously declared dry race, a white flag is shown, indicating that riders can pit to swap the motorcycle on which they started the race for an identical one, as long as the tyres are different.
The first instance of the flag-to-flag rule playing out was at Phillip Island in 2006, where a dramatic spectacle of the entire MotoGP™ grid entering pit lane mid-race to swap machinery was seen for the first time ever.
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Fuel
Fuel is of course essential to every bike on the MotoGP™ grid in equal measure so the MotoGP™ teams work closely with their fuel suppliers to ensure that they carry exactly the right type of fuel and of course, exactly the right amount. All motorcycles must be fuelled with unleaded petrol.
Firms such as Elf, Shell, eni and Repsol supply the teams with fuel and their eternal quest is the highest possible performance at the lowest rates of weight and consumption.
NEW ERA
In 2002, for purposes of increasing safety, regulation changes related to weight, available fuel and engine capacity were introduced. Reducing the amount of available fuel over race distance requires an engine to run more efficiently, thereby reigning in power. A regulation allowing maximum of 26 litres was introduced in 2004, with that number incrementally lowering throughout the decade. Fuel tank capacity was reduced to 24 litres in 2005, and reduced a further 2 litres to 22 in 2006. From 2007 onwards the FIM regulated that engines were limited a maximum fuel capacity of 21 litres in MotoGP class, with 2014 seeing a further drop to 20 litres. The so-called “Open class” may run up to 24 litres.
Races vary in length from circuit to circuit, and the demands of a certain track may mean that it results in higher fuel consumption for the bikes than other tracks of similar length. Teams can measure how much fuel they are using during qualifying and free practice sessions to ensure that just the right amount is in the tank when the race starts – as of course carrying unnecessary fuel could mean the fraction of a second which loses a race.
In qualifying, the fastest times are often set right at the end of the session when the rider is fully warmed-up, his tyres are giving him maximum grip and - having emptied most of the tank - a lighter fuel load allows him to lap as quick as possible.
Fuel is specially produced by the various fuel companies and is very precisely adapted for racing. The final product is only slightly different to the sort of fuel used by the general public, but must be approved for use by the FIM.
The components are 99% the same as road fuel, but suppliers can alter the levels the hundreds of various components which fuel comprises to ensure they are using exactly the right blend of anti-oxidants, detergents, friction modifiers and so on to improve efficiency.
LUBRICANT
In addition to fuel, lubricant suppliers provide the teams with race modified engine oil, to lubricate and therefore reduce friction, which produces better fuel economy. This in turn means the bike can carry a minimum amount of fuel.
MotoGP lubricants are based on a standard product, as is the fuel, though the racing product varies more with lubricants than with fuel. The oil has to lubricate the engine’s rotating parts, the gearbox’s constantly moving components and of course the clutch itself, which inevitably all get extremely hot on track. The more efficient the lubricant is the less fuel consumed and the better the bike performs, giving its rider a greater chance of victory.
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TV Broadcasters
Territory Station Broadcast
ALBANIA Super Sport FP, QP and Races Live all categories.
ANGOLA Zimbo TV MotoGP Races Live or SDD
AUSTRALIA and Papua NEW Guinea TBC (pay TV)
Channel ONE All QP's and All Race live
MotoGP & Moto2 Races Live, Moto3 Live/SDD/D. MotoGP QP Live/SDD
ARGENTINA ESPN+ MotoGP & Moto2 Races Live
AUSTRIA TBC
BELGIUM RTBF / TBC RTBF: MotoGP & Moto2 Race Live
BRAZIL Globosat / Sport TV All Races Live & MotoGP QP Live
BOSNIA SportKlub All Races & QP Live
BULGARIA TBC MotoGP Race Live. Moto2, Moto3 and MotoGP QP Live/SDD
CAMBODIA TBC 52' Highlights
CANADA Speed TV MotoGP &, Moto2 Race SDD, Moto3 Race Delayed
CHINA Guangdong TV
Chong Qing Satellite Channel MotoGP Race Live/SDD
COLOMBIA CityTV MotoGP Race Live, MotoGP QP
CROATIA TBC MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 Races live and MotoGP Qualifying Practice live
CYPRUS TBC
CZECH REP. Fanda TV
Nova Sport MotoGP Race Live. All Races from Czech GP Live
Moto2, Moto3 Races Live and all QP Live
DENMARK TV Puls (Viasat) All Races and QP Live
EL SALVADOR CH 4 All Races Live / SDD
ESTONIA VIASAT All Races and QP Live
FINLAND Nelonen Sport Pro All Races and All QP Live
FRANCE Eurosport France All Races Live, All QP's live and All Free Practices Live
GERMANY Sport 1
Sport1+ All Races & QP Live
All Races Live, All QP's live and highlights of Free Practices
GREECE OTE Sport All Races Live and MotoGP QP Live
HUNGARY TBC All Races and all QP Live
INDONESIA Trans7 MotoGP & Moto2 Live MotoGP QP Live
ISRAEL SPORT 5+ All Races and MotoGP QP Live
ITALY SKY Italy / Cielo FP, QP and Races Live all categories. 24/7 MotoGP Channel / 8GPs Live QP and Races all categories. Others 2h highlights SDD
JAPAN NTV
G+ 1 Hour highlights on delayed basis. Japan GP MotoGP Race Live
All Races Live and highlights QP SDD
KOSOVO TBC All Races and QP Practices Live
KAZAHSTHAN STV MotoGP Race Live
INDIA Ten Sports All Races and MotoGP QP Live. Dorna 52' Highlights Delay
LATVIA VIASAT All Races and QP Live
LITHUANIA VIASAT All Races and QP Live
MACEDONIA SportKlub All Races and QP Live
MONTENEGRO SportKlub All Races and QP Live
NETHERLANDS Sport 1
NOS All Races and QP Live
TT Assen Live
NEW ZEALAND TBC
TBC D52' Highlights
All QP's and All Race live (from Sachsenring onwards)
NORWAY VIASAT Motor All Races Live, Warm UP, QP and Free Practice Live
POLAND Polsat MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 Races live and MotoGP Qualifying Practice live
PORTUGAL SPORTV All Races Live, Warm UP, QP and Free Practice Live
ROMANIA DigiSport All Races and QP Live
RUSSIA Autoplus All Races and QP Live
SERBIA SportKlub All Races and QP Live
SLOVENIA Kanal A
POP PLUS All MotoGP & Moto2 Races Live, Highlights Moto3
All QP and Moto3 Race Live
SPAIN Movistar MotoGP
Tele5 All Races Live, All QP Live
9GPs All Races Live, others all Races SDD
SOUTH AFRICA SuperSport (Mnet) All Races and QP Live
SWEDEN VIASAT Motor All Races Live, QP and Free Practice Live
SWITZERLAND SRG
SSR RTS & RSI All Races Live/SDD
SRF Some Moto2 Live & Highlights of Moto2 & MotoGP
THAILAND Channel 9 Moto2 Race Live, MotoGP Race Live/SDD, Highlights of QP's
TURKEY SmartSpor MotoGP & Moto2 QP and Races Live
UK BT / ITV4 All Races, QP and Practices Live & re runs / 52' Highlights programe delayed
USA ITV4 52' Highlights programe delayed
VENEZUELA Meridiano 52' Highlights programe delayed
Continental Networks
ASIA Fox Sports Asia All Races Live and all QP Live
AFRICA SuperSport All Races and QP Live
MIDDLE EAST Al Jazeera Sports MotoGP QP and all Races Live
LATIN AMERICA ESPN Latin, ESPN HD, ESPN2 MotoGP & Moto2 Races Live, Moto3 Live/SDD/D and MotoGP QP Live/SDD
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Media Coverage
In the last decade, the huge evolution of MotoGP™ has increased an already phenomenal global following for the sport as every meeting provides an enthralling day's action - which is ideal for spectators, TV broadcasters and sponsors all over the world.
The combination of the spectacular overtaking manoeuvres, remarkable cornering speeds, adrenaline pumping acceleration displays, passionate stadium crowds, truly competitive racing and ecstatic celebrations which define elite motorcycle racing means both the sporting interest and the audiences grow year on year.
There are more than 200 countries and territories receiving live or same-day-delayed broadcasts of the Grand Prix, with the coverage delivered to more than 337 million households worldwide. Hundreds of millions of spectators enjoy MotoGP™ live each race weekend, with a total of more than 13,000 media personnel attending Grand Prix throughout the season.
The draw of MotoGP™ is obvious. At venues such as Assen, Barcelona, Silverstone, Indianapolis, Jerez, Le Mans, Mugello, Phillip Island, Sachsenring and Valencia, over 100,000 spectators attend the weekend's proceedings in person, and at some there are more than double that figure, highlighting the passionate following the sport enjoys.
The thrill of MotoGP™ is broadcast live throughout the world thanks to a huge team of television production staff, orchestrating more than 20 trackside cameras, two on-board micro-cameras on each MotoGP™ bike which capture every angle of the rider and his machinery in action, high-speed cameras capturing up to 2000 frames per second, and high-frequency cameras in the pit lane and on overhead helicopters.
Dorna Sports, which administrates and organises MotoGP™ racing and is the television rights holder and producer, also provides television networks around the world with a wide range of products including highlights and edited videos in many formats and lengths, standard or tailor-made. The service includes extensive coverage of activities away from racetracks during Grand Prix weekends and the off-season. Unilateral and multilateral satellite feeds are guaranteed by Dorna from every corner of the globe.
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Glossary
The sport of MotoGP™ has its own unique language, utilising certain pieces of terminology shared with other motorsports and some specific phrases belonging to the world of motorcycle racing. Here, *********** guides you through some of the words and phrases commonly used in MotoGP.
Apex
The tightest point on a corner, which the rider usually rides through just before he begins to exit, accelerating away.
Braking Marker
A physical point which a rider uses to judge where he should start braking as he enters a corner. This could be a tree, advertising board, a mark on the track or any other distinguishing feature which the rider uses to guide his braking pattern.
Chicane
A section of track with two corners in close succession in opposite directions. A left-hander followed by a right-hander or vice versa, which looks like an ‘S’ from a bird’s eye view.
Compounds
The type of rubber / mixture of rubber used in tyres.
CRT
Claiming Rules Team. From 2012 until the end of 2013, teams not entered by one of the major manufacturers could seek CRT status. Teams entered as CRT benefitted from less restrictive rules on the number of engines used in a season, and the fuel allowance during a race is larger. Under the "Claiming Rule", teams operating under CRT status agreed to allow up to four of their engines per season to be claimed, after a race, by one of the major manufacturer teams at a cost of €20,000 each including transmission, or €15,000 each for the engine alone. In 2014, CRT was abandoned in favour of the “Open” class.
Curbstones
Mainly painted in two colours and often featuring prominently on, or just after corners, the curbstones mark the sides of the race track and help to guide the riders.
Displacement
The capacity or size of a bike’s engine, usually quoted in cubic centimetres (cc), for example 1000cc, 600cc or 250cc.
Dry Race
A race in which the track surface is considered to be dry by Race Direction, as opposed to wet. In a dry race teams will run slick tyres on their bikes. See Key Rules section for more details.
Dorna
Dorna Sports is the company which administrates MotoGP. See Governing Bodies section for more details.
Dirt tracking
Over the years several MotoGP™ riders from the USA, including 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden, have had their racing background in regional and national dirt track championships. The racing takes place on a muddy surface as opposed to asphalt.
Endo
A trick which involves stopping a bike suddenly to lift the rear wheel off the ground. The opposite of a wheelie, it is sometimes also called a Stoppie.
Esses
A colloquial, phonetic reference to a chicane, owing to their often ‘S’ shaped appearances.
Fairing
An outer body part of a racing bike that protects both the machinery and the rider from debris and gusts of wind. Fairings are decorated with team colours, sponsor logos and race numbers.
FIM
The Fédération Internationale de Motorcyclisme is the governing body of all motorcycle sport throughout the world. See Governing Bodies section for more details.
Gas
Throttle or acceleration. It is common to hear riders say ‘I opened the gas’, or ‘I gave it some gas’.
GP (Grand Prix)
A racing event which lasts three days, involving the three MotoGP classes, MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3. Grand Prix weekends consist of two days of practice and qualifying, followed by the warm-ups and races in each class on the final day. There are currently 19 Grand Prix on the MotoGP™ calendar.
Grid
The collection of starting points on the start/finish straight on the track, where the riders gather at the beginning of each race, lining up in the positions in which they have qualified to start.
Hairpin
A very tight corner which has to be taken slowly and often appears U-shaped or V-shaped.
High Side
A crash in which the rear wheel of the bike slides out from under the rider - so that he is essentially at a right angle to his racing line (the direction in which he was going) - and then regains grip, which flips the bike and rider over.
Hole-shot
Taking the hole-shot means leading the race at the first corner.
Homologation
The homologation of the track and the bikes being used in MotoGP™ racing is the approval process undertaken by the FIM and their associated committees.
IRTA
The International Road-Racing Teams Association represents all the Grand Prix teams. See Governing Bodies section for more details.
Low Side
A crash whereby the rear wheel or both wheels of the bike lose grip and do not regain traction, resulting in the motorcycle slipping out from underneath the rider.
Lean angle
The lean angle refers to the degree at which a rider tilts his bike into the track as he corners at high speeds. Riders’ knees and elbows can often touch the ground at maximum lean angle.
Left-hander
Simply a left-hand corner, where the rider ‘turns’ left, leaning the left side of his bike and body towards the ground.
MSMA
The Motorcycle Sports Manufacturers’ Association represents the interests of all the constructors involved in motorcycle racing. See Governing Bodies section for more details.
OnBoard
An ‘OnBoard’ is a television camera carried by a MotoGP™ bike which gives an impression of what it is like to be involved in the action on track.
Parc Fermé
Designated area on pit lane where podium finishers (first three) in each category are interviewed by television crews immediately after each race (See ‘At the circuit’ section for more details).
"Open" class
The "Open" class was introduced from 2014 to represent the bikes using the specification Magneti Marelli software that weren’t entered by the MSMA members or some of their satellite teams. They have a fuel limit of 24 litres and may use 12 engines per season.
Paddock
The area adjacent to the pit-boxes on the opposite side to the pit lane where teams and riders station their motorhomes and equipment for the duration of a Grand Prix (See ‘At the circuit’ section for more details).
Pit-box
A temporary garage with access directly onto the pit lane, each one designated to a team participating in one of the three MotoGP™ races (See ‘At the circuit’ section for more details).
Pit Crew
The team management, mechanics and their assistants.
Pit lane
An access lane which is usually directly adjacent to the main straight on the track and is used for going between the pit-boxes and the circuit (See ‘At the circuit’ section for more details).
Podium
The first three finishers in any Grand Prix race receive their silverware on the victory podium (See ‘At the circuit’ section for more details).
Pole position or pole
Refers to securing the first starting place for the race on the grid and is secured by the quickest lap in qualifying.
Qualifying
On the day before the races, all three classes, MotoGP™, Moto2™ and Moto3™ have to qualify. The riders start the race in the order in which they have qualified, which is to say that the rider with the fastest qualifying time starts in first place or pole position, the second fastest in second place and so on.
Race Direction
Representatives from Dorna, The FIM and IRTA form the Race Direction team at each Grand Prix, making such decisions as declaring race conditions dry or wet. See Governing Bodies section for more details.
Ride Through
A Ride Through procedure is a penalty where a rider is requested to ride through the pit lane and can be imposed if, for example, he has jump started before the race has officially commenced. See Key Rules section for more details.
Right-hander
A right-hand corner, where the rider ‘turns’ right, leaning the right side of his bike and body towards the ground.
Rookie
A rider competing in his first full year in any of the three categories of Grand Prix racing is referred to as a rookie.
Rostrum
Another name for the podium.
Scrutineering
A MotoGP™ term for checking or inspection. Scrutineers are responsible for checking that all MotoGP™ participants abide by the rules.
Slipstream
To slipstream another rider is to follow him on a straight and use the flow of air around him and his machinery to your advantage, by building up the momentum to overtake him in the area of reduced pressure behind him.
Slicks
Tyres with no tread specifically designed for use in road racing and made of a soft compound, which give just enough grip without slowing the bike down.
Swingarm
The rear section of the bike onto which the rear wheel is mounted is a swingarm. It moves up and down with the rear suspension.
Topping the timesheet
Refers to recording the fastest time in a practice or qualifying session.
Tyre wall
A collection of stacked tyres used as a crash barrier to reduce damage and injury on impact.
Wet Race
A race in which climatic conditions affecting the track surface are considered to be wet, as opposed to dry. See Key Rules section for more details.
Wheelie
A stunt often performed in celebration by riders, in which the front wheel of the motorcycle is lifted off the ground as a result of hard acceleration and a quick release of the clutch.
Wild cards
Unsigned riders who are entered for one-off races, as opposed to regular competitors. See Wild cards section for more details.

Last edited by CBR Time; 04-06-2014 at 08:16 AM.
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post #24 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-05-2014, 03:52 PM
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Did you get carpal tunnel copying and pasting that?

Pure awesome, thanks man.

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post #26 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 12:31 AM
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Props to you for taking the time to make this. It's full of great information.
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post #27 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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No problem man, always glad to help out those looking to follow Moto GP or learn more about it. Cheers
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