MotoGP Considering Team Communication via Dashboards

Dorna is considering allowing communication between teams and riders via the dashboard. At a meeting today between Dorna and the teams, initial discussions took place over a system to allow teams to pass very brief messages to the dashboard of the bikes.

The ability to pass messages between team and bike has been made possible thanks to the transponders currently being used in MotoGP. Those allow for a very limited and very short burst of communication as the bikes pass the timing loops at the track. Race Direction is currently using the system to pass signals to the dash in the case of a red flag, black flag or ride through penalty, but the system would also allow teams a limited ability to pass messages to the riders.

"It's at a very early stage," Technical Director Danny Aldridge told us at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. "Basically, teams could send very short messages to the dashboard. It would only be something like 'BOX'."

There are a lot of details still to be worked out. It is unclear exactly how often messages could be passed, and exactly how long such messages would be, but it would only be a few characters. In theory, four messages could be passed to a rider each lap, in addition to messages on the pit board. But it is still not clear whether a message sent to the dashboard would be replaced by another at the next timing loop, or whether the message would have to removed at one timing loop, then a fresh one sent at the end of the following sector.

What is also unclear is exactly what granularity of timing loops would be available to the teams. Although MotoGP splits each race track into four sectors, the number of timing loops at each track is much greater. There may be ten or more at some tracks, although only a few are being used.

The proposal to allow communication has come forward after riders missed messages on pit boards at the last race at the Sachsenring. Andrea Dovizioso, Valentino Rossi, Cal Crutchlow, Hector Barbera and Jack Miller were battling for the lead as the track was drying out. Marc Márquez went in to swap bikes early, as he was losing too much ground to the leaders on wet tires. At the front, Rossi, Dovizioso, Crutchlow, Barbera and Miller were all looking at each other too much rather than their pit boards. By the time they went in, it was too late, and Márquez went on to win the race.

That made teams think carefully about sending information to the riders. Teams were frustrated that the riders ignored messages on their pit boards, something made more difficult by the position of pit lane at the Sachsenring, which starts after a steep climb to a blind crest.

Dorna are keen on the messages, as they will also be available for the TV feed. Because the messages would go through the transponder system, Dorna could use them and display them on the TV feed, similar to the system used in F1.

The idea is still at a very early stage, and has a long way to go before actually being adopted. There will have to be discussions between the teams and Dorna about what kind of messages it will be possible for the teams to send, how much space they have and how often they can be changed. The system will have to be tested before it can be adopted, and the riders will have to decide whether they believe it can be done safely or not.


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First a hand, then an arm, soon teams will try to radio contorle the riders.

MotoGPTwitter? Why not! MotoGP is a team sport after all!

"In theory, four messages could be passed to a rider each lap"... How many crashes will be caused by riders constantly reading their MotoGPTwitter feed and losing concentration? 

Arghhhh, The F1 influence is maddening! Pit boards should be enough! How about a flashing red pitboard saying "We are watching the race and know what's happening. Pit next lap or you're fired!" 

Would be more fun and far more effective. It is a team sport after all!?


I feel like the whole communication thing is like can't get it back in the tube once it's out.  I doubt we'll go backwards and this all points to more and more communication.  Let the racers race!!!

So, acronyms?

To Iannone: DYTI (Dovi's your teammate, idiot)
To Rossi: BMBI ("Box" means box, idiot)
To Lorenzo: STACI (Stop thinking about crashing, idiot)
To Marquez: SPIOKI (2nd place is okay, idiot)
To Pedrosa: EADCI (Eat a damn cheeseburger, idiot)

The ability to send a simple message one way to the bike shouldn't be a big issue if done right. I would look at what the messages would be trying to augment - the pit board. Teams currently show their rider a pit board once per lap, on the straight, so if messages were to be introduced they should be allowed to send one message per lap which will change as the rider crosses the final timing loop. Obviously race direction would keep their current capabilities to send a message immediately and their messages would override any team message.

Like a pit board, messages should be kept short and simple. I would make a very short list of allowed messages in consultation with the teams. It would not include lap times, position, gaps, number of laps remaining, electronic map changes or things like "rival KO", "let team mate win" or "onit".

Pit boards have been around for how long? When they were first used, how fast (slow) were bikes going?

At some tracks, riders have a second or two, or less, or no time at all if they are battling for position- like at Germany.

Maybe the bikes should go back to breaker point ignition and drum brakes because who knows where advances in development could lead.

I think the dashboard message idea is good. Where were the detractors when race direction implimented their flag messages. Weren't flag wavers good enough?

Same concept.

...if we'd be having this conversation if Marquez bungled his strategy and Rossi went on to win at Sachsenring?  The cynic in me thinks not.

I think dashboard messages make sense.   You can choose when to look down at it and not second guess what you think the pitboard said.  

So someone is finally thinking about this logically. Great. (It's AFT) Were the lawmakers on social media and MotoMatters these past three weeks? I think maybe.

Now I look forward to the debate on the details - and the positions taken, opinions expressed, and points of view made clear by all parties.

Insight (as well as logic) is good.

For all of you who are against this, how do you feel about the riders looking up to the jumbo TV screens to try and find out where they are relative to their rivals?   Honestly, I think this propsition makes sense.  I have no issues with it.  Right now they are changing fuel maps, adjusting brakes,  watching the JumboTron, and getting flag messages from Dorna while racing.  I see no issue with them getting a digital "pitboard" on their dash that the team can update strategically to keep the rider in the loop with regards to his position relative to competitors.