MotoGP Grand Prix Commission Bans Front Ride-Height Devices From 2023

There has been much debate over the past two months over the use of front ride-height devices, hydraulic-mechanical systems which lower the front of a MotoGP bike on corner exit. Ever since Ducati turned up with the device at the Sepang test, the other motorcycle manufacturers have complained about it as a waste of money, an expensive way of finding small performance gains.

That prompted an internal discussion inside the MSMA, the association of motorcycle manufacturers racing in MotoGP. Five factories were opposed to the use of front ride-height devices, while Ducati felt they were being punished for their innovation. If the devices were to be banned, then Ducati had wanted to postpone such a ban from going into force until 2024.

Ducat has lost out on both counts, however. Two proposals were put to the Grand Prix Commission, and the GPC decided to adopt the proposal banning front ride-height devices from next season.

The proposal will not ban front holeshot devices, meaning any device which can be used once, at the start of the race, to help get the bike off the line when the lights go out. Interpretation of the rules will be left to the MotoGP Technical Director, Danny Aldridge.

The ban raises the question of whether Ducati will continue to develop it's front holeshot device. At Mandalika, the Italian factory had already removed the device from most of the Ducati GP22s, after all of the GP22s got off to a bad start at the first race in Qatar. If the device is to be banned from 2023, and needs further development before it offers any gains, it might prove more productive to drop the device now, and focus on other areas. Ducati's track record of coming up with new and innovative ideas to circumvent existing regulations suggests they will find other areas soon enough.

Notably, the ban adopted by the FIM only affects ride-height devices on the front. Rear ride-height devices will continue to be legal.

The press release from the FIM appears below:


FIM Grand Prix World Championship
Decisions of the Grand Prix Commission

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Paul Duparc (FIM), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Biense Bierma (MSMA), assisted by Jorge Viegas (FIM President), Carlos Ezpeleta (Dorna), Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting) and Corrado Cecchinelli (Director of Technology), in an electronic held on 18 March 2022, made the following decision:

Technical Regulations

EFFECTIVE SEASON 2023

MotoGP Class

RIDE HEIGHT DEVICES

During the meeting of the Commission held in Lusail on 4 March 2022 the Grand Prix Commission delegates were asked to consider two alternative proposals on this matter. Both had the objective of preventing further performance improvements and development cost increases. After consideration of the proposals the following regulation was approved unanimously.

The use of any device that modifies or adjusts the motorcycle’s front ride height while it is moving is forbidden.

The decision of the Technical Director will be final when determining what constitutes a front ride height device; devices that only operate one-shot at the race start (i.e. “holeshot” devices) are allowed.

Source: 

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Comments

Could KTM have sabotaged Brad's front shapeshifter to help torpedo the technology? 

Anyways I still think factories should go the other way and control the whole suspension- shapeshifters included- electronically.

You're correct, it was the rear. Only Ducati are playing around with a front device. It will be interesting to see what they do at the tests with it because at best they could take profit from the back half of this season if they get it figured out. Further investment is now a black hole though. 

Couldn't the need for wings and shape-shifters be largely removed by improving the anti-wheelie available in the spec ECU?

Thank god it’s banned. What a needlessly complicated bit of tech that will not have much on-road application. I wished they’d ban wings too, but that boat has sailed long ago. Ducati should stop circumventing regulations and Gigi please stop bringing F1 shenanigans into Motogp thank you.

On a side note, the current crop of sportbikes with wings look positively ridiculous on the street.. 

The blame lies with MSMA and DORNA. All the F1 crapola coulda/shoulda been prevented by the regulations long ago. If HRC had thought this stuff up would the rest gang up on them to get it banned?

...at least you're SEEING bikes on your streets! <insert smiley face here> We still have salt and sand here (Boston) although recent rain has washed much of it to the gutter. Too cold for most riders here now, too.

I will do more looking online (for now) and showrooms starting next month to see who's adding wings to their street-ready bikes. I didn't expect to see this. My motto has been Better to Lose Body Fat ... than to add doodads and widgets. 

There are already street bikes with the technology

And a liter bike on the street is ridiculous with or without wings. Like the wings they only make sense on a race track

…..at least if you are to believe Mat Oxley, and why shouldn’t you since he’s rarely wrong.  Dorna put the foot down with shapeshifters, and they’ll do the same thing for the wings, if/when it becomes warranted 

….look plain silly. I was toying with getting the new Ducati V2 Streetfighter but what have they done….put wings on the bloody thing. Very pleased with my choice of the wingless MV Agusta Dragster RR which is a prettier bike anyway.

Let's face it, everyone that skipped a Panigale V4 in favour of a Streetfighter is looking for every tenth they can get around their local track and those wings will make all the difference. "Ducati Trackfighter (bonus wings)" should have been their angle perhaps.

I would have loved to replace my 990 Superduke with the Dragster. I think for sure it's the tastiest of the 'Streetfighters'. Does it ride as good as it looks?

Unfortunately I'm trying to buy a house in the middle of an insane explosion in house prices so now I'm currently riding a deposit and my bicycle instead. My bike previous to the Superduke was a Tuono, but how they can claim to call that a naked bike now (latest model) is beyond me, and surely a real stretch of the term. There's very little of the bike not covered with a fairing. 

The wings are silly on the Ducati, but the silver/grey edging on the radiator annoys me more. I accept that all matters of taste are subjective though. 

Whelp, re Ducati and Tech advancements...

It has begun. Google "Ducati Ghost"- brand new hybrid e-bike concept.

We are waiting also for their V21L, the new MotoE bike. 

Red has taken NASA stuff another step in recent years. If you are like me and love a (Suzuki GP bike, hold the ride height plz) we are in for a series of "discomforts" in the coming decade or two?

After what they did with the Monster.. nothing surprises me any more.

I'll stick with my '11 Multi S for now thanks. If you saw half of the roads around here you'd understand.

Very impressive overall and bloody fast, but until the range and charging stuff is sorted I'll stick with my vintage(ish) BMW and Honda ICE.

Yes, the Dragster rides as good as it looks and in Sport mode is a weapon way beyond my humble capabilities. I can just sit and admire it.

You're not alone in that! Very few of my riding buddies or I will ever use even half of the (honestly, quite ridiculous) potential of our machines. Sure are nice to look at though. 

I remember when the Dragster was reviewed in a local mag the writer said that he rode it in rain mode all the time to dampen the power, so you're at least a click of traction mode ahead of them. 

I missed something.  Aren't (weren't) technical regulations subject to UNANIMOUS agreement of MSMA members?  So did Ducati vote in favor of the shapeshifter ban?  If not, how did it happen?