Grand Prix Commission Refines Jump Start And Corner Cutting Regulations

The Grand Prix Commission meeting at Valencia tied up a number of loose ends in the 2015 regulations, most to do with safety, some to do with basic practicalities of racing. 

The most significant changes are to the rule for jump starts and for exceeding track limits. Currently, the penalty for exceeding the track limit is a mandatory loss of position, but the races at Misano showed the impracticality of such a rule. Jonas Folger ran straight on at Turn 1, and had to drop back several seconds into the middle of a group battling for position. Race Direction now has the option of imposing other penalties based on their perception of advantage gained. The decision will allow the imposition of a time penalty, or any other penalty they wish.

The jump start procedure has also been changed, allowing a ride to move before the lights are out, and then stop again, and Race Direction once again decide whether they gained an advantage or not.

One change improving safety is forcing riders to wear helmets while riding the track on scooters. Given the speed which some riders reach on their familiarization laps, it is a much needed rule change. To save costs, riders will now also be allowed to rent dirt bikes or other machinery to use to get to know the track, rather than being forced to ship scooters around the world in team containers.

The press release from the FIM appears below.

FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
Decision of the Grand Prix Commission

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM CEO), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA) in the presence of Javier Alonso (Dorna) and Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on 8 November 2014 in Valencia, made the following decisions:

Sporting Regulations

Effective 2015

  • Riders or other persons using scooters for track familiarisation must wear a crash helmet.
  • Use of motorcycles from other disciplines, (motocross, enduro, supermoto, etc.) may be used for track familiarisation away from events without restriction.
  • Teams in the Moto3 and Moto2 classes, testing on either of their designated circuits, may not use a contracted rider from another team in the same class.
  • In a situation where a rider anticipates the start with a slight movement but then stops, and is stationary when the red light goes out, Race Direction will be the sole judge of whether an advantage has been gained and if a penalty will be imposed.
  • When riders are adjudged to have exceeded the track limits during the race then Race Direction will decide what penalty is to be imposed. (Automatic drop of position is no longer the only possible penalty).
  • When a group of riders are being lapped and the blue flag is displayed then there can be no changes of position within the group of riders until the rider lapping them has passed.

Technical Regulations

Effective 2015

Moto3 and Moto2 Classes

  • Moto3 class engines are allocated randomly during the season in three separate batches. To ensure that engines in the different batches, from the same manufacturer, are of identical specification, an engine will be selected at random from each distribution and used as a reference to check randomly selected engines from subsequent distributions.
  • Permission has already been granted to Moto3 class teams to use their 2014 chassis in 2015 instead of buying new a chassis. However, to prevent any advantage by using higher specification components, not provided with the 2015 chassis packages, it was decided that any team taking this option may only use the standard front and rear suspension packages as supplied with the 2015 chassis.
  • The temperature of fuel used in Moto3 and Moto2 class machines may not be artificially reduced. Fuel must be at the ambient temperature as defined by the Technical Director.
  • Dell’Orto has been the exclusive supplier of ECU’s to the Moto3 class for the first three years of this class. Based on the good experience with the Dell’Orto hardware and knowledge gained by the Championship and teams on settings and data acquisition, it was decided to renew the contract with Dell’Orto for a further three years. This will also allow for continued use of existing product stock.

MotoGP Class

  • The details of the procedure for technical control of MotoGP class engines were confirmed. MotoGP class engines may be required to be dismantled for checking by the Technical Director. However, the team may then rebuild that engine, using new parts, and the engine may then be used for the balance of its normal life, determined as 3,600 km.

Other Matters

The Indianapolis Grand Prix was awarded the title of Best Grand Prix of 2014.

A regularly updated version of the FIM Grand Prix Regulations which contains the detailed text of the regulation changes may be viewed shortly on:

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I've never agreed with only having to give up one position if you cut a corner or a whole entire chicane. Often times the position the offending rider has to give back is simply the position he just gained by cutting the corner. So the race just carries on as if nothing ever happened. If you're the one who screwed up the corner, you should be punished for it. If the track had decided to put gravel in that spot you would certainly have lost a lot more time/positions, if not have crashed out completely, so you shouldn't be be able to just give back your gained position and carry on. My feeling is you should have to give up 2 or 3 positions to make it a true penalty. And if the next rider is 15 secs behind....tough sh*t, you shouldn't have screwed up the corner.

But the worst solution is a post-race time penalty. That's what F1 does, so the race ends not knowing what the actual finishing order is. I won't even mention the ambiguity of race direction being allowed to impose whatever penalty they deem fit. Once again, the rules-making leaves me scratching my head.

1. Using supermoto bikes to learn the track. Very cool.

2. Can't use a contracted rider from another team. Hmm. Why not, if the other team is amenable?

3. So, if a MotoGP team wants to rebuild an engine midseason, all they have to do is start a rumor that the engine isn't up to spec, then hope Race Direction hears about it and inspects the engine?

Ha, renting bikes or any moto vehicle to races is a dangerous situation. when I was racing we called rent a cars, u-wreck-ums... Didn't Troy Baliss flip his rental car at Brainierd one year, and then had to buy it. I remember stories, throwing the cars into reverse at 60 mph just to see "how they would do". pulling cars up to brick walls, flooring them so they smoke the tires, then setting cruise control to maintain that level of throttle, and then getting out to admire ones handiwork. My point, renting scooters or dirt bikes so racers (even professionals) can scope out the track is fraught with red flags...

Now that is a potential business/marketing opportunity for the manufacturers. Bring a few of their Moto bikes or whatever for their riders to run on track. Then auction off the bikes for profit or even charity afterwards. Have the riders autograph the bikes or even have a letter of authenticity to go with the purchase.

Not sure about the jump start rule change. The one now is black and white, and at this level you simply shouldn't screw it up. Opening the rule allows for people to potentially take advantage by deliberately jumping then stopping, but sucking someone beside or behind them into jumping too, and most likely worse if they're not ready for it. *Potentially* a tiny movement by rider 1 could trigger a larger jump start by rider 2, rider 1 is deemed to have gained no advantage but rider 2 does. Could get messy.

Presumably this is in response to Lorenzo's jump this year, the resulting ride-through basically hammering the nails into the coffin of his season that had been made at Qatar. While it's tempting to think that a penalty less severe than being effectively knocked out of the race should exist, the harsh rules have resulted in very very few jump starts.

Back in the bad old good old days nobody would blow a corner because there was probably severe gravel, an armco fence, or worse just off the track edge. Nowdays there are corners like T1 at Catalunya, the one along the back of Assen, et al where you can fully run off the track in the knowledge that you can regain the track without any real disadvantage. Riders know this and regularly take advantage, I wonder if the new starting rules will open similar loopholes?

I like the start rule change, like this last wknd, rider moves but stops and still in the box - no problem from me, carry on racing. Love it.

Supermotos or other "endurance bikes" allowed to turn laps to check out the track? Sounds nice! Forget the pit scooter, start shipping your "endurance bike." What would the rule be on that? A production based sportbike? Anything w a license plate? Last yr's racebike in test bodywork? Anyhoo, curious what this looks like.

It seems to me that the benchmark was set some years ago at a certain corner at Laguna...... (that should drag some angry skeletons out of the closet) :-)
No penalty despite a rider returning to the track without due care.
Now it's de rigeur.
I would prefer to see riders leaving the racing surface having to come to a complete stop before resuming racing. Safer for those behind and introduces a substantive and immediate penalty.
It seems to me that the impact varies in terms of where on a track you run off - run off on an area with gravel or astroturf and you're likely to end up on your backside, whereas you run off on a sweeper with plenty of surplus asphalt and it's a case of continuing with limited impact to your time or position.