New Flag-to-Flag Bike Swap Procedure To Be Tested At Silverstone

A new bike swap procedure is to be tested at Silverstone for flag-to-flag races. After the riders failed to reach agreement on a single procedure at the Safety Commission meeting in Austria, Race Direction met with the teams to agree a new procedure. That procedure is to be tested on Friday, after FP2 at Silverstone.

French Eurosport reporter Vanessa Guerra tweeted out the diagram of the new procedure shared with the teams:

The changes made are all aimed at creating space in pit lane, and avoiding collisions. The bikes will be moved much closer to the garages. The bikes coming in will have to be parked behind the second bike. Bikes will have to come in at a 45° angle, while the second bike will also be parked at a 45° angle. After the rider has swapped from one bike to the next, they will have to wait to be released by a mechanic holding an F1-style lollipop, who will scan behind and ensure it is safe for the riders to leave pit lane.

Below is the official press release from Dorna:

Test of new MotoGP™ bike swap procedure

Trial of new bike swap procedure to take place following MotoGP FP2

There are some small changes to Friday’s schedule at the Octo British Grand Prix: the MotoGP™ grid will test a new bike swap procedure for flag-to-flag races at the end of their FP2 session. Moto2™ FP2 will therefore begin ten minutes later.

After the chequered flag comes out at the end of MotoGP™ FP2, riders will return to pitlane and swap bikes using the new, trial system. They will then exit pitlane to do one more lap of the track, and may do a practice start on that lap.

This new bike swap process will have signs on pitlane indicating the point at which riders may turn in, and a new bike position for all teams. It will also include a mechanic with a lollipop whose sole task is to observe pitlane traffic during the bike swap and ensure his/her rider is released safely.

Moto2™ FP2 will begin at 15:15 local time (GMT +1).


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I get the idea of this given what has happened in the past during a bike swap. I guess we'll have to see how it goes. I don't really see any issue with this but this does have a hint of F1 about it. Safety is certainly a noble goal but what do the veteran spectators of MotoGP think?

Just out of curiosity what do you think David?

I do not wish to pick a fight, but I am slightly irked by two parts of your comment.

I don't think safety is just a noble goal, but a vital one, sometimes literally. Any reasonable step towards more of it in racing should be supported.

I also wonder why specifically veteran spectators should be asked about their opinion on this matter. For one, what counts as a veteran spectator? I've been watching for 16 years or so, but given my age and appearance I am guessing some would still lump me into the "new fans" group. Secondly, why would the opinion of veteran spectators, no matter how defined, be any different or have more weight than "new" ones? We're all fans of the same thing, after all. And just that, fans. None of us sits on these bikes or has any kind of deciding power, so do our differences matter?

For what it's worth, I liked the two-lane idea that was brought up for debate. It eliminates the crossing of paths between incoming and outgoing machines and creates a safe zone for the teams, although unfortunately not all paddocks would have the space for such a setup. We shall see how this one goes.

Haha it’s no issue at all and no your comment is hardly picking a fight. I used "noble" in my first comment simply because for some reason I was worried about coming across too strongly in my statement.

I certainly agree with you that the pursuit of safety is absolutely vital. I’ve only been watching GP for a few years now and I know in other professional sports that some rules in the past don’t always result with the intended outcome. I was simply asking for the opinion of folks who have been watching for a long time is this is a good idea or if it misses the mark. I’ve always been astonished and appreciative of the well rounded and thoughtful comments readers contribute to this sight so I figured what better place to get some honest opinion. I appreciate the reply

Thanks for responding! I guess I just read too much into a few sentences. ;)

That's why I love this page as well, people (mostly) get along well and many put a lot of thought into their comments - to a degree that I sometimes learn even more from the comments than from the articles (no offense, David!).

and that is all motorsports so fwiw, seeing any open pitlane w/o a speed limit currently seems a bit daft but I honestly could care less as I'm not the one racing or working in them. So as long as all the MGP community is fine with it, so am I. I strongly believe that those who work in harms way should be the ones determining their own safety, not the spectators.

So ultimately I really don't care how they change bikes, or even if they went for a traditional pit stop and just changed wheels/tries on their current bike. I just want the term flag to flag dropped already. There's already enough "dumbing down" going on in the world today that I hate seeing it infect the things I truly care about.  

I cannot see Marquez liking this new proceedure,it will be one hell of a leap from his incoming bike to the outgoing one.Something had to be done,the last bike change was a complete joke when Innone hit Esparago,very amaturish.

The same rules apply to all the riders, I don't see how any version of the bike change rules would benefit one rider or the other.

Or is this an attempt at sarcasm/irony?

Why not park swap bike in middle and have two lanes (one each side) and have incoming bikes

enter nearer the garage side and exit bikes use the outer.    Then they would not cross paths.

Probably the best compromise between the jumpy-slippy-fally status quo and the enforced minimum pitlane time idea that would've killed the magic of flag to flag. Pitstop strategy adds an element of excitement to what would normally be fairly tedious racing and this way they keep the essence of that while making it a lot clearer and less danger-prone for the riders and crew

By the way I didn't see Joe the maniac hit anything other than the floor when he grabbed way too much front brake.

I am not happy with the current proceedure. this new suggestion seems better, but not ideal.

This will be interesting for a few reasons (these comments are meant to be sarcastic in a funny way but with genuine curiosity about what may happen from this new format).

- so a team mechanic will now need to use a lollipop for indicating when it is safe to go?  Who else thinks Marquez's mechanic will yank that lollipop out of the way even if the whole paddock is about to pass the box three wide in that outside lane?  cheeky

- since conditions will be wet and tires cold, who do you think will be the first to get to Marquez like lean angles trying to turn in or out quickly and start going straight only to swing the back end around right into their own pit box, oncoming bikes or towards the pit wall?

- since they are now going to be forced to enter their pit in a straight line after a 45 degree turn (which allows for a better/later braking), do you think the mechanic "catching" the bike for the best of the late brakers will be paid more and given a protective cup for his family jewels?

- last but not least, why don't they just take a page from the American Nascar book of pit lane antics and have the crew jump over a safety wall and move the rider from one bike to the other after a complete stop.  Wouldn't that be funny.  laugh

I think that the solution they have come up with is a pretty good one.  The trial run in FP2 showed that it works quite well.

Having it very close to the garage is about the only cause for concern as a rider could still stuff up in the heat of the moment and now you have a falling bike heading into a garage.  The chances of this, I would gather, is relatively small.  

It also brings a little bit more uniformity to how riders change their bikes, which leads to less advantage gained in the pit area.  Let them race on the track not in pit lane.