MotoGP is to get a head start on the implementation of LED flag panels for the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season. The panels, which will be made compulsory by both the FIM and FIA from 2022, are to be transported from track to track by LED panel manufacturer EM Motorsport, and used for each race.
The panels are already being used in some tracks. They have been present at the Le Mans circuit for a couple of years, where the MotoGP riders got their first taste of them, and Assen fitted LED panels as part of their upgrades to the circuit at the end of the 2019 season.
The riders have been pushing for this to happen for some time, Aleix Espargaro explained at Portimão. "This was one thing that the riders had requested to Dorna. In Le Mans, because of the 24 Hours, we had banners from two or three years ago, and sincerely, it helps in some places in Le Mans. So after the Le Mans race two years ago, we asked Dorna to try to have it everywhere, so they did a great job."
Having LED flag panels will help, but the responsibility will still ultimately lie with rider, Espargaro said. "There are some riders who say it will change their life, and I don't agree. If you don't want to see a yellow flag and you want to keep pushing for your own interest and doing the fast lap, you can put LED panels, you can put a yellow flag in the middle of the corner, you will not close the throttle. But obviously, in some places where you have a big runoff area because it is a very fast corner, the LED panels can help."
The press release from Dorna appears below:
Digital Flag Panels to be used from Portuguese GP
Dorna to install high-tech digital Flag Panels at all MotoGP™ circuits in 2021
Thursday, 15 April 2021
Dorna Sports are delighted to announce an agreement with EM Motorsport to supply the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship with 22 digital, high-tech flag panels for use at each Grand Prix event. From 2022, it will be mandatory for circuits that host MotoGP™ to install T1 or T2 panels following a joint directive from the FIM and FIA to increase the visibility of and information regarding track conditions for all competitors in order to increase their safety during any incident, regardless of the discipline. The introduction of the panels for the rest of the 2021 MotoGP™ season, before they are mandatory, will enable both the riders and each host circuit to become accustomed to the technology before the new regulations come in.
The 22 new high-tech flag panels, which will travel with the MotoGP™ paddock throughout the remainder of 2021, will make their debut at the Grande Premio 888 de Portugal. Homologated Digital Flag Panels provide excellent visibility at high speeds in all weather conditions, making it easier for the riders to know the status of the circuit during sessions and increasing safety significantly. Particularly, EM Motorsport has vigorously tested its Flag Panels to ensure that whatever the weather or lighting conditions, they can be seen clearly utilising a brightness of 64,000 candela per square meter. They have been the first to be homologated by the FIM and FIA.
MotoGP™ will use a combination of T1 and T2 panels, with the T1s being used at long run off areas and fast straights and the T2s covering the rest of the circuit. T1 panels are EM Motorsport’s flagship product, with T2 panels evolving from those to offer the high-end technology to the entirety of the motorsport market. T1 and T2 differ in dimensions and performance in order to adapt to different Championship and circuit needs.
The Flag Panels will be fully integrated into MotoGP™’s current Race Control system, meaning the panels will be controlled first and foremost by Race Control, enabling them to change the status of the entire circuit instantly. Each panel has a console that will be operated by a trackside marshal for localised yellow flags and sector incidents. Marshals will be given full training on how to use the new panels before each event. The positions of the panels around the track will be determined by the FIM MotoGP™ Safety Officer, ensuring that they are placed in the natural eyeline of the riders throughout the lap.