Testing To Be Reduced In 2020 For Moto2 And MotoGP - Valencia, Brno Tests Dropped

As the MotoGP championship expands to 20 race in 2020, and the prospect of 22 races from 2022, Dorna and IRTA are making a push to reduce the amount of testing in the series. Next year, testing will be much more limited, not just for MotoGP, but for Moto2 as well.

At Misano, the Grand Prix Commission met to discuss testing for Moto2 going forward. There have long been complaints that the current rules allowed rich teams to spend a lot more time testing than poor teams, the lack of rules on testing between the end of the season and the start of the test ban on December 1st meaning that testing was almost unlimited.

From 2020, Moto2 and Moto3 teams will be restricted to two official tests to be held at Jerez and Qatar ahead before the start of the season on 6th March in Qatar. They will also have the number of private testing days reduced from 7 to 6 days, with all testing taking place after Valencia and before the winter test ban now included in those testing days. There will also be a private two-day test held during the season, which will not count as part of the 6 days of allowed testing.

Though not officially announced by the Grand Prix Commission, MotoGP testing is also to be reduced from 2020. According to a source with knowledge of the matter, alongside the preseason tests at Sepang and Qatar, the number of in-season tests will be reduced from 3 to 2 days, with tests to be held after Jerez and Barcelona. The Monday test after Brno has been dropped. This will be a popular decision, as the stress of packing everything up on Monday night at Brno and then starting to build it all back up again the next day at the Red Bull Ring in Austria placed a burden on the teams. There will also be a two-day test after Misano, before the teams head to Aragon.

More significantly, the post-race test at Valencia is to be dropped from 2020. Instead of the two-day test on the Tuesday and Wednesday after Valencia, the teams will head to Jerez for a test a week or so later.

The dropping of the Valencia test will be welcomed by the teams and factories. Jerez is a far better and more productive test track than Valencia, with a wider variety of corners. The weather is generally more amenable than at Valencia, temperatures warmer for a longer part of the day. And perhaps more importantly, the riders are fresher too. The riders are generally deflated after the end of a long season, and giving them a week to recuperate and recharge their batteries should make a difference.

Opinion on a reduction of testing is split between factories and teams. The teams are in favor of less testing, as they have they receive money from Dorna for racing, but have to pay for testing out of their own pocket. The factories, on the other hand, fear that less testing makes it more difficult to develop their bikes and make them competitive. They argue that it is bad for the satellite teams too, as if a factory is unable to produce a competitive bike, the satellite teams suffers along with the factory team. 

The reduction in testing time has increased the importance of the test teams, with all six factories now having test teams with competitive riders based in Europe. The cost savings from restricting technology is going into expanding the test team program.

The Grand Prix Commission introduced two other rules for 2020 at the meeting in Misano. First, carbon fiber swingarms were banned in Moto3, in an effort to control costs. This was more to anticipate future developments, as currently, no factories use carbon fiber swingarms in the smallest class.

There had been moves to ban carbon swingarms in Moto2 as well, but that had met resistance from Speed Up, who have been using a carbon swingarm for many years in the class. Kalex is also set to introduce carbon fiber swingarms from next year in Moto2.

The final regulation introduced was to make the use of a X2 Racelink Pro device, a combined GPS tracker and CAN Bus communication device. This is needed to allow for more accurate GPS tracking of the bikes by Race Direction, and to speed up communication between the bikes and Race Direction, to assist with the virtual pit board signals. 

The use of GPS remains banned for the manufacturers themselves, the spec software not using GPS signals to determine the position of the bike. But Dorna wants to be able to track the position of the bike both to assist Race Direction, and to feed data into its timing and display systems.

Below is the press release issued by the Grand Prix Commission.

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), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA), in the presence of Carlos Ezpeleta (Dorna), Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting) and Corrado Cecchinelli (Director of Technology), in a meeting held in Misano on 13 September 2019, made the following decisions:

Sporting Regulations


Test Restrictions Moto3 and Moto2 Classes

In response to a request from the teams, testing days will be limited to:

Two official tests, each of three days, between 01 February and the first event of the season.

One private test of two days during the season of events, at a circuit agreed by the teams.

Six days per rider of private testing at a circuit in Europe or at a circuit in the country of the team.

Any testing after the last event of the previous season and before 30 November will count towards the maximum of six days of private testing per rider. (Previously, testing in this period was unrestricted).

Technical Regulations


Moto3 Swingarms

The use of carbon swingarms is not permitted. (Note: None are used on current machines).

MotoGP Class CAN Layout (Annex to the Technical Regulations)

The MotoGP CAN layout will change to allow for the introduction of the X2 Racelink Pro device

The X2 Racelink Pro will be mandatory on all MotoGP Class machines, and it will provide, amongst other things, an improved GPS positioning for Race Direction, and real-time communication for Race Direction messaging and virtual pit board displays.

The X2 Racelink Pro will be powered by the motorcycle electric system and will need a specific and additional GPS antenna to be placed on all machines.

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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Bike development is going to slow to a standstill. Factories are conservative enough as is- where are my funny front ends? Regulations also ban a lot of effective and cheaper tech like dual clutch gearboxes.

Plus they're pushing to cram more races in, but not even optimizing the races they already have. Do we really need 4 races in Spain when there are only 2 races across both American continents? I think this is a misstep and Dorna is being a little greedy.

On the grid at Portimao WSBK an FIM bigwig was quickly interviewed. They want Estoril and Portimao to share years about a MotoGP race and he mentioned there would be only 2 races (I think) on The Iberian peninsula from 2022 onwards. With circuit contracts being generally 5 years, change is slow.

I would prefer Valencia and Jerez to switch places in the calendar. Jerez is a much more fair circuit to have a final race at.

"The use of GPS remains banned for the manufacturers themselves, the spec software not using GPS signals to determine the position of the bike."

I could use some help with this. How do the teams make use of telemetry data without GPS? I understand you can get speed, throttle position, brake force, lean angle, and all kinds of other data from the onboard software and sensors, but how is this helpful if you don't know where on the track the rider/bike are? Or is there another way besides GPS to "determine the position of the bike?"

I think the restriction on GPS mentioned there is specifically in relation to the teams not being able to use the GPS data to tune the spec software for corner-by-corner settings. I guess there's nothing to stop the teams using their own GPS loggers to track the bikes position for use alongside the data, post-race as you mentioned. If that's not allowed then I presume they can use the timing beam locations that split each sector of the lap to orient the data at the start of each sector. These are all guesses on my part tho, so I'm sure someone will pop up and call BS if I'm wrong! 

How long before a scandal of sorts when team x or y is accused of hacking into the gps to get corner by corner programming.

I do feel for anyone in the circus for whom this is first and foremost a job. Like others here, no doubt, I too have had a few jobs with lots of overseas travel and after a while it can pale. In my case the work was a joy but nevertheless I knew it was time to quit when I stopped even caring which country I was in that day.

On a clean lap where someone doesn't run off. You don't need GPS to know which straight your on or really any other point on the track. Each straight is a unique length, each corner unique. Its like a fingerprint. I would be very surprised if some one hasn't implemented turn by turn traction control, etc based on this in real time. Program in the shape of the track and ideal brake points, etc and then find the best chi-squared fit of the real data to the ideal. Wouldn't take more than a lap to get the system to settle down, could probably settle down within a turn or two.

I also look forward to the day we'll get rid of BFE (boring front end) racebikes. The good news is we might get a wildcard from an FFE Moto2 machine soon. Check out https://www.facebook.com/motoinno.com.au/?__tn__=%2Cd%2CP-R&eid=ARBICN9bkDUvKdxBN09dkptK7hjq6yQpbkrKPCShLvA_CRuYdFCb4aKRG_Xg1GDCADh3EXzyEIbyFP2n

The problem is, as David has explained in the past, that the control tires are engineered for BFE bikes. The Motoinno guys tell us that they have problems making the rear tires last and that the front tires are always too hard for their bike. The bike seems to be way faster than a BFE one, but they're going to have their work cut out for them making that rear tire last race distance. On FP and QP, however, they could embarrass all the BFE bikes, provided they can get a fast rider to put on their bike.

If they succeeded, and that's a very big if, we would soon see more teams using FFE, which in turn would force the tire suppliers to engineer their tires towards the FFE solution, which would eventually spell doom for BFE racebikes. One can dream.

Troy Aikman has questioned why American football even has a preseason. It just four more weeks to pile up injuries. Pro tennis players have been complaining about the continuous tour for years. Nowadays some that make the draw in the slams at the bottom of the rankings are hiding injuries. They tank in the first round and collect the check they need in order to break even financially. This is probably a common complaint in other sports that I am not aware of. It's easy to say that the riders in Motogp take the greatest risk, but unless my memory fails me the last two fatalities for members of the Motogp family occured in hotel rooms. A case could be made that the excessive grind of the Motogp season is taking its toll. Twenty-two races per season? I'm an avid Motogp fan that drools over the video, press releases, news, comments and gossip. I count down the days beginning in mid-november with march as a target. It's like going through withdrawal from a drug. But everybody needs a break. The human body can only take so much. Same goes for human relationships. If the majority of the paddock is against a heavier schedule then I agree. 

Thanks Mr Day, for your comment. As far as I am concerned. from the comfort of my recliner, we could have Motogp for 50 weekends a year. And I would enjoy all of them. The reality though is that the grid isn't only populated with young and well (and a few very well) paid riders, but a large number of people, many of whom have lives and families who work like crazy to support their teams and the riders themselves. If you have ever travelled extensively for work you will be familiar with the affect that it is fun for about a year and then potentially it can be fairly corrosive to your sanity thereafter.

And as Mr Day has also observed, a point is reached when the demands of the fixture, when they exceed reason, begins to eat into the competition itself. I thnk that we can accept a reduction in testing days, given DORNA's recent record of ensuring an even competition. If that decision also helps the huge number of people who work to make MotoGP, as fantastic as it is, stay well and happy then I am all for it. Bless you all: travel and logistics people, mechanics, engineers, drivers, public affairs and press liaison, admin and management. You are all part of what we love watching.

Spain has 4 rounds because they are packed to the gunnels with mostly paying spectators, Austin had more empty seats than punters from what you could see on the telly. 

For some reason, the US in particular doesn't seem to want GPs.