MotoGP Rule Tweaks: Intermediate Tires Go, Extra Slick Added, Medical, Disciplinary Measures Tweaked

December is a time for reflection, and for making the necessary changes to the rulebook where incidents during the season have made clear. Last week, MotoGP's rule making body, the Grand Prix Commission met to review the 2016 season and make a few necessary adjustments to the MotoGP rulebook. Fortunately, they decided not to do anything quite so drastic as the Superbike Commission did at the same time.

The most eye-catching change is the dropping of intermediate tires in MotoGP. Intermediates had been introduced at the request of the teams and Dorna, to allow riders to go out during sessions when conditions were not suitable for slicks. However, the experience of 2016 showed that intermediates were rarely used, and when they were, they added little or no value over soft slicks or hard wets. During a press conference at Valencia, Michelin boss Nicolas Goubert said "at some races, there were riders on track with slicks, with intermediate, and with rain tires, all at the same time."

The loss of the intermediate is to be compensated by an extra tire choice for both front and rear slicks. Though the total allocation is not to be increased, the riders will now have three front compounds, plus an option tire, and three rear compounds, plus an option tire, to choose from. Several times during 2016, Michelin was already bringing a choice of four front tires (i.e. three plus an option) to the races, so this is merely formalizing an already existing situation. The addition of an extra tire will most likely be at the soft end of the spectrum, to allow a soft slick to fill the void left by the loss of intermediates.

The remainder of the rule changes were less significant, though one or two merit mention. As the use of onboard cameras in Moto2 and Moto3 has grown, there were some complaints that bikes with cameras had an unfair disadvantage. Ballast is to be added to balance that out. 

An extra appeals board will be put in place at each track, to allow the FIM Stewards to hear appeals against penalties issued immediately, rather than having to wait for several days.

An interesting change has been made to the medical code, giving the riders a little more confidentiality over their medical records. As the Clinica Mobile has come to play a significant role in the  medical treatment of riders - many riders prefer to consult the Clinica, rather than their home doctors - there has been some dilution of medical privacy. That has led FIM doctors and Clinica staff to disclose information to the media, without the permission of the riders.

The new rule change is also in part a response to some of the more serious incidents in MotoGP, including the tragic death of Luis Salom. Chains of communication in such cases are now much clearer, with family members and teams being informed first, and only then statements being made to the media, with permission.

An important change was also made to the duties of a rider. They must now inform MotoGP medical staff if they pick up an injury outside of MotoGP events. For example, a rider breaking a bone or suffering a concussion in a training accident will have to inform MotoGP medical staff, and submit themselves for medical examination before being passed fit to race.

The FIM press release with the full minutes of 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), Ignacio Verneda (FIM CEO), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA) in the presence of Carlos Ezpeleta (Dorna), Mike Trimby (IRTA CEO, Secretary of the meeting), Paul Duparc (FIM), Mike Webb (Race Director), Danny Aldridge (Technical Director) and Corrado Cecchinelli (Director of Technology), in a meeting held in Madrid on 2 December 2016, made the following decisions:

Effective Season 2017

Technical Regulations

Dummy Cameras/Weights in Moto3 and Moto2
Currently the top six riders in Moto3 and Moto2 are required to carry on board cameras. It is considered that the additional weight involved in classes where machine performance is so equal could disadvantage riders required to carry the cameras. It will now be a requirement for other machines not equipped with actual cameras to carry dummy versions or weights, in the same positions.

Whilst there will be no change in the minimum machine/rider weight in Moto3, in the Moto2 class the minimum weight will be increased by two kilos to 217 kilos.

Tyre Allocations – MotoGP Class
After consultation with the Safety Commission and with the approval of Michelin, tyre allocations have been changed.

Intermediate tyres will no longer be available.

The maximum number of wet and dry track tyres remains unchanged but there is an additional specification of front and rear dry slick tyres available to choose.

Sporting Regulations

Moto2 and Moto3 Testing
The regulation limiting the days of private testing has been clarified and now applies exclusively to contracted riders. Teams may test with any contracted rider at any circuit for a maximum of ten days per rider during the season, in addition to official tests and tests in November after the last event.

Race Start Procedure
Any rider who arrives at the grid behind the safety car after completing his warm up lap must now enter the pit lane and start the race from the pit lane exit.

Speeding in Pit Lane
Following instances of certain riders breaking pit lane speed limits several times during the same event the conclusion was that the current penalty of €150.00 per offence was not a sufficient deterrent. In future, the fine for the first offence will be €200.00 but second and subsequent offences can be penalised with larger fines or other penalties determined, according to circumstances, by the FIM MotoGP Stewards.

Restarted Races
The regulations will be modified to make it clear that when a race is interrupted after less than three laps have been completed, all riders may start including riders who might not have completed the sighting or warm up lap for the original start.

At all Grand Prix events the Clerk of the Course and the Chief Medical Officer must be holders of the relevant FIM Superlicence.

Track Safety
In reaction to recent incidents, it is no longer permitted for track marshals to clean the track or alter the condition of the racing surface without prior instructions or authorisation from the Race Director and the Safety Officer.

Disciplinary Matters

The function and responsibilities of the Race Direction and the FIM MotoGP Stewards remain unchanged. Race Direction, which comprises the Race Director, the FIM Representative and a Dorna representative have no role in the application of penalties but may refer matters to the FIM MotoGP Stewards comprising the Race Director, a permanent FIM Steward and a second FIM Steward appointed by rotation.

The change involves the creation of a second tier of “Appeal Stewards” comprising an additional Steward appointed by the FIM and a second Steward appointed by the FMNR. The Appeal Stewards will be present at every event and will hear appeals against any decisions of the FIM MotoGP Stewards. This means that in virtually all cases results and sanctions can be confirmed or annulled during the event. (Previously, appeals against decisions of the FIM MotoGP Stewards could only be heard by the FIM Court of Appeal which was not present at events and had four days to reach a decision).

Medical Code

Various changes have been made to the FIM Medical Code including giving the FIM Medical Officer more power and responsibility to ensure that medical facilities and staff are adequate and competent to deal with injured riders.

The code has also reinforced the right of injured riders to have confidentiality respected about their condition. Medical staff or race officials are no longer authorised to make statements to any third party, other than immediate relatives, about the condition of injured riders without the authorisation of the FIM and Dorna.

Reacting to numerous recent incidents where riders have been injured at events other than MotoGP, or in training, riders will now be responsible for notifying the relevant FIM Medical Officer and the CMO of any injury or illness that might affect his/her ability to ride or compete.

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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US Footbal requires that teams report, before the game, the status of players. This is to even the playing field for random bettors vs insiders. Since betting is allowed on MOTOGP, similar transparency requirements should be in place. I'm not sure these new regulations cover that.

MotoGP needs to do a better job with concussion testing.  It was fairly obvious that Petrucci was riding around post concussion  once last year. That's a potentially life threatening event in MotoGP and far more serious than what we see in NFL or college football.  I'm surprised given the energy involved in some of these wrecks, they don't fall a concussion protocol similar to what we see in college football and the NFL.  

One more softer slick available is GREAT news, smart rule change and a better use of resources. A few big guys on Ducatis with low tire pressures blasting the rear apart drew the tire alocation over to the hard side, as temperatures and conditions were also more varied. Yamaha and Suzuki (Aprilia?) and diminutive riders have reason to rejoice, this remedies one of the more frustrating aspects of 2016.

What Rossi may later think about his team mate, grid shuffles up front in WSBK?

This? YES!

Dumb to not let the riders use the intermediate one more season.  Too quick to add and remove it.  We saw riders this year using an intermediate on one end of the bike and a slick on the other side.  That could have been a difference maker in alternate weather condtions.  It's a situation that needed more exploration and could have been a standard in half wet half dry conditions in the future.  And a safe one at that.  This is knee jerk, per the usual in MotoGP.  

Kenny Roberts book says, on a wet track with no puddles, a slick is as good as an inter. I did like how at certain tracks that were colder than Michelin planned, enterprising teams used interns as an extra soft option.

Yes, As far as I know, the only advantage of the inter over the slick is the grooves to disperse water.  If there's sitting water then most riders will use a wet, if there's not, then they might as well use a slick of similar structure to the intermediate.

How will Michelin determine the type of additional slick tire ? On which basis?
On the medical side: as much as I understand that it's important to respect the privacy of the injured person and there shouldn't be any statement made prior to the official assessment I find a bit strange the obligation to notify injuries.... given the frantic activity of these guys on social media as soon as a pinkie is broken a million plus followers has already been notified with a picture! I don't get it...
what's the reason ? Are there proofs that some riders hid some health issues that proved to be problematic for their own safety and others' on the track?

Asking what basis Michelin will choose the extra slick is a bit redundant isn't it? They pick all the current slicks that are available anyway so it's irrelevant. 

I don't think doctors should have to check social media to stay updated on their patients and it probably helps them provide better care if they know ahead of time if they have to deal with injuries sustained before a race weekend on top of anything else. 

I suspect the requirement to notify the medical team of injuries is so they can get the rider's permission to obtain medical records and results of tests from the treating doctor.  That sort of information isn't routinely available on Twitter.

I spoke about social media as a sort of provocation in the sense that nowadays it would be impossible to hide most injuries and I assume that an injured racer will need a green light from the official medical body and it seems obvious that he would have to show his medical records. Moreover given they might suffer any type of injury at any given moment it seems obvious to me that their medical records are always available. My point was more on the medical team role and rules.... which to me seem unclear. The rules I mean. Not later than this season we witnessed a guy with a concussion Petrucci that was cleared to go straight back on the track though he has no recollection of it and another guy Iannone who depending on which medical team you listened to, could race or not. And what about that epic race of Lorenzo? He literally jumped from the operating table onto the bike: in which medicine book there is a note that says it is safe and ok? So it all seems to me very burocratic now racers have to officially notify their injuries but I still don't understand how they assess if a racer is fit to compete

Motorcycle helmets are disposable.  If it falls from the handlebar to the pavement, you should throw it away.  They absorb impact by delaminating, crushing the foam, etc.  They're very safe.  There's at least one testing organization that tests for a 2nd impact (Snell?).

An NFL or Hockey helmet works differently.  The have material that bounces back to delay/spread the impact over time.  I don't think they get replaced during a game, maybe even a in a season.  They do get some testing but I wonder if they get tested for degredation of impact absorption.