The off season is a good time for motorcycle racing organizations to do a spot of housekeeping. There is time to look back over the year, and figure out what was missing from the rules, and what was unclear, an issue made more pressing by the number of rule changes in recent years. And so that is what the Grand Prix Commission, MotoGP's rule-making body, did, at a meeting in Madrid on 30th November.
Though it took a 3-page press release to cover all the changes made during the meeting, most of them are fairly minor in their effect. The biggest change was not even in the press release, although that is because it is a consequence of the switch from Honda to Triumph engines in Moto2, and from the Honda ECU to the spec Magneti Marelli electronics kit. That switch means that the Moto2 technical regulations need to be updated to reflect the situation going forward from 2019. Nothing in those changes is new, however: the changes have long been debated and agreed between the FIM, IRTA, and Dorna, as well as the suppliers and chassis builders for the Moto2 class.
Perhaps the change with the most direct and potentially significant impact is the change to the MotoGP wet tire allocation. From 2019, the number of wet tires available to each rider has been increased to 6 front tires and 7 rear tires, the riders getting one extra front tire and one extra rear tire. Concerns had been raised at Valencia over the number of tires available, especially on a weekend which was mostly wet.
The wet tire allocation has been clarified for Moto2 and Moto3 as well. Although there are no limitations on the number of wet tires supplied to the teams, the rules have been modified to state explicitly that the official tire supplier - in this case, Dunlop, for Moto2 and Moto3 - will have at least 4 sets of wet tires for every rider on the grid.
One change which will annoy some of the MotoGP factories - notably Honda - is the requirement that engines be started in pit lane, outside the pit box, and not inside the garage. The change - sensible, given the risks of starting engines inside a partially closed environment - means the bikes will stationary and visible to rival factories and photographers for longer. Currently, Honda starts their bikes inside the garage, and then the riders ride out of the pit box, leaving little opportunity for rival engineers and photographers to get a close up look at the bikes, especially in terms of bike setup (geometry, suspension, etc) being used.
There were changes made to clear up some confusion of concession points, the points awarded to manufacturers for scoring podiums, and giving straggling factories more freedom to test and develop, allowing them to catch up. The first change is that when a manufacturer which has concessions scores enough podium points to lose those concessions, their freedom to test at any GP circuit is only lost for the following circuit. They do still lose the right to do unlimited testing, but they can still do so at any GP circuit, instead of just one of three officially nominated GP circuits. This prevents costly situations where factories have booked tracks to test at, but lose the right to test there after losing concessions.
The other change will be more significant in the longer term. Inspired by KTM's surprise podium at Valencia, when Pol Espargaro nabbed a superb third place in a race interrupted by the rain, a time limit has been placed on concession points. From 2019, concession points will expire after 2 seasons. This will prevent factories from losing concessions after a few lucky results, rather than as a result of sustained success, which is the purpose of giving concessions in the first place.
The remaining changes merely clear up previous anomalies. The lap record names have been made a little clearer, to distinguish between the fastest lap during a race, and the fastest lap set during any session on a Grand Prix weekend.
The official criteria for finishing a race has also been changed. Previously, a rider had to be in contact with their bikes when they crossed the line to be be classified as a finisher. That has been changed, so that if both rider and bike cross the line separately, then the finishing time will be determined by the moment either rider or bike crosses the line, whichever of the two does so last. This would mean, for example, that Bo Bendsneyder would have been classified at Assen in 2017, when he crashed just before the finish line and then slid across the line apart from his KTM Moto3 machine.
There are also changes clarifying that substitute riders taken from, for example, the FIM CEV championship or the CIV can compete at Grand Prix if they take place inside of the 14-day window after the national or regional series they compete in. Normally, all activity at a Grand Prix track is banned 14 days before the event.
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), Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA) and Mike Trimby (IRTA), inthe presence of Carlos Ezpeleta (Dorna), Corrado Cecchinelli (Director of Technology),Mike Webb (Race Director) and Danny Aldridge (Technical Director), in a meeting held in Madrid on 30th. November 2018 made the following decisions:
Sporting Regulations – Effective Immediately
Previously, in order to be qualified as a finisher, the rider had to be in contact with hismachine when crossing the finish line. There have been situations when, due to a crash,the rider and machine have crossed the line separately. In future the finish time willdetermined by the first part of the rider or his motorcycle, whichever crosses the finishline last.
On occasions a Moto3 or Moto2 team will substitute an injured with a rider contracted toparticipate in another Championship, for example FIM CEV. In future such riders will bepermitted to fulfil their entry obligations in the other series and track activity at suchevents will not count as rider test days for the GP class and may take place within 14days of a GP event at the same circuit.
Riders classified to Restart an interrupted Race
To establish clearer criteria on which riders may restart an interrupted race certainclarifications to the regulations were approved. It is confirmed that riders may obtainassistance from marshals to restart the machine or to move the machine on track,trackside or in the service road.
For the purposes of the regulations covering this matter “active” and “actively competing”are defined as the rider riding on track, or attempting to repair/restart the machine, or tore-join the track or return to pit lane. The FIM MotoGP Stewards will be the sole judge ofwhether a rider is actively competing and such judgements are not subject to appeal.
Passing Under a Yellow Flag
When a change of position penalty is imposed for passing under a yellow flag, or for anyother infringement, the information will be communicated via the dashboard display andon the finish line during a maximum of three laps. (Previously five laps).
For Safety reasons it is not permitted to start the engine of a racing motorcycle inside thepit box at any time. Engines must be started in the pit lane.
Official Titles for Circuit Lap Record and Race Lap Record
New official titles were approved for the following circuit records:
“All Time Lap Record” – The fastest lap time in history including all Grand Prix sessions.
“Best Race Lap” – The fastest lap time in history made during a race,
Concession Points – MotoGP Class
When a Manufacturer gains sufficient concession points to lose concessions then theright for test riders to test at any GP circuit is cancelled. The regulation has been clarifiedto specify that this applies to testing in the following season when the manufacturer mustnominate three current GP circuits for testing.
In order that a manufacturer who only accrued concession points on a spasmodic basisdid not lose concessions after several years it has been decided that concession pointswill expire on the two-year anniversary of the date on which the points were gained.
Generators used on the Grid
Currently, regulations limit the use to a hand carried generator with a maximum output of2 kw. Current practice is for generators to be incorporated into a service cart withtoolboxes, spare wheels and other equipment.
Accordingly, the current regulation has been cancelled and the Technical Director willhenceforth be responsible for determining the acceptability of the generator/equipmentcart brought onto the grid.
Technical Regulations – Effective Immediately
Moto2 Class Technical Regulations
To recognise the change of engine supplier from Honda to Triumph the technicalregulations for this class have been modified. Full details will be available within the nextdays in the official regulations published on line by the FIM.
After consultation with the Safety Commission and the official suppliers of tyres thefollowing changes have been made to tyre allocations:
The standard allocation of rain tyres will increase from 11 to 13 being six front and sevenrear tyres.
Moto3 and Moto2 Classes
In these classes the number of rain tyres is not limited. However, the official suppliermust now have available of a minimum of four sets of rain tyres per rider.
Disciplinary Regulations – Effective Immediately
Penalties not subject to appeal
The Disciplinary Code contains a list of penalties that are not subject to appeal, usuallythose penalties given during a race. However, the FIM Stewards may also impose a timepenalty in lieu of another penalty, typically when the standard penalty (e.g. changeposition, ride through, etc.) cannot be complied with because there is insufficient time leftin the race. The regulation covering such matters has now been changed so that whentime penalty is given in lieu of any non-appealable penalty, the time penalty alsobecomes non-appealable.
A regularly updated version of the FIM Grand Prix Regulations which contains the detailed text of the regulation changes may be viewed shortly on: