The Grand Prix Commission is working through the unintended consequences of the decision to restrict testing in all three Grand Prix classes. Those restrictions have been a positive aid in reducing costs, but have made it impossible to use riders not currently under contract unless their contracted riders are absent due to illness or injury.
Adding a further layer of complexity to this is the current state of the MotoGP rider's market: with everyone out of contract at the end of 2020, and a large crop of Moto2 riders looking to step up, the factories want to take a look at riders not currently on the MotoGP grid. In previous years, such rookies would be given a private test - that happened with Johann Zarco, Alex Marquez, and Brad Binder, to name a few. But with private testing now banned, that has become impossible.
As a result, the GPC has decided to allow non-contracted riders to run alongside contracted riders at MotoGP tests, subject to the proviso that they share riding time: i.e. only one of them can be on the track at the same time. So for example, should Yamaha decide to give current Moto2 rider Luca Marini a test, he could share a garage with Valentino Rossi, but Marini would have to ride in the morning, Rossi in the afternoon.
This measure also allows the four MotoGP manufacturers without concessions to get a shot at younger riders. The testing restrictions do not apply to factories with concessions, so Aprilia and KTM are free to give Moto2 riders or riders from other championships a test on the bike at private tests.
The fact that this has come up as a subject - with the objective of evaluating future riders mentioned explicitly - suggests that this is something factories and teams are currently looking at very seriously. It is another sign that the riders market for 2021 could be very hectic, and shake up the grid significantly.
The first test where we are likely to see young riders given some time on the bike is probably Barcelona. The preseason tests at Sepang and Qatar are too important for the start of the season, and the post-race test at Jerez is the first chance the teams get to bring updates for the season, and try to find solutions to problems uncovered by the first few races.
The other rectification to the regulations was to align MotoGP wildcards and MotoE. For example, as a concessions manufacturer, Aprilia have the right to enter test rider Bradley Smith as a wildcard rider in six events. However, wildcard riders are currently forbidden from appearing in consecutive events.
With Smith also racing in MotoE making it impossible to wildcard and race in MotoE on the same weekend, and other test riders also having race programs outside of MotoGP on a fixed schedule, that rule has been dropped.
The press release from the Grand Prix Commission appears below:
FIM Grand Prix World Championship
Decision of the Grand Prix Commission
The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Paul Duparc (FIM), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA), in the presence of Carlos Ezpeleta (Dorna), Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), Corrado Cecchinelli (Director of Technology), Danny Aldridge (Technical Director), Mike Webb (Race Director and Franck Vayssié (CCR Director) in a meeting held in Madrid on 27 November 2019, made the following decisions:
EFFECTIVE SEASON 2020
Currently, teams have only been allowed to test not contracted riders at tests by replacing their contracted rider for injury or another reason.
Furthermore, as there is no longer private testing in the MotoGP Class, (only allowed for manufacturers with concessions) it makes it difficult for the rest of the MotoGP manufacturers and teams to test other riders for the future.
The Grand Prix Commission has approved a change to the regulations as follows:
Teams may substitute their contracted rider for all or part of a test, provided that the maximum number of test days is respected, and that the substitute takes the place of the contracted rider, i.e. both cannot be on track at the same time. Such substitute riders must be approved the Selection Committee.
Moto3 and Moto2 Classes:
Any replacement or substitute rider is deemed to be the original rider for the purposes of counting test days, so test days accumulate for both rider and team (that is, a team cannot have more test days by changing riders and a contracted rider cannot have more test days by changing teams).
The effect of these changes is that teams will have the opportunity to evaluate the competence of non- contracted riders for future use as a substitute or replacement rider. It also gives the opportunity for teams, and the selection Committee, to assess the performance of riders who might be proposed as contracted riders for subsequent seasons.
Wild Cards – MotoGP Class
Currently, MotoGP class Manufacturers are not permitted to nominate wild card entries for consecutive events.
The Commission have agreed that this restriction should be removed for those manufacturers who benefit from concessions. Such manufacturers are permitted a maximum of six wild card entries and scheduling applications for events that are not consecutive has proved difficult, particularly when some riders are also committed to other Championships like MotoE.
WET RACE START PROCEDURE FOR MOTO3 AND MOTO2
To bring this procedure into line with similar regulations that involve a delayed start. The Commission have agreed that the restarted race will be 2/3 of the original race distance.
A regularly updated version of the FIM Grand Prix Regulations which contains the detailed text of the regulation changes may be viewed shortly on: