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2022 MotoGP Rule Changes


advrider

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The 2021 MotoGP season is now complete.  And MotoGP’s rule-making body, the Grand Prix Commission, is announcing some rule changes for 2022 and beyond.  The changes affect many different areas of the sport.

Age limit

Some changes do not affect the bikes themselves.  For example, confirmed for 2023 is a change in the minimum age limit for all three classes of riders; Moto3, Moto2, and MotoGP.  From 2023 onward, the minimum competitor age will rise to 18.  The change is the result of some tragic deaths of young riders in elite roadracing, particularly three high-profile incidents in 2021.

107% lap time rule

In addition, the Commission has deemed it essential to ensure that the potential racers have the skill to compete at this level.  As such, the qualification limit is now only 105%, down from 107%.

It’s not a huge difference, but it does have an impact.  For example, the average lap around GP circuits is somewhere around 1’40, or 100 seconds.   Under the old rule, all competitors must qualify within 7 seconds of the fastest lap (100 seconds X 7%).  With the updated rule, all competitors must qualify within 5 seconds (100 seconds X 5%) of the fastest time set.

Brakes

One of the more substantial mechanical rule changes has to do with brakes.  In MotoGP, the allowable brake disk size is increasing from 340 to 355 mm.  MotoGP’s increasing speeds and rider talent have made the importance of dissipating energy quickly paramount.  With the relative competitiveness of all the bikes in the field, it’s braking and corner entry where real racing gains occur.

While Brembo’s new calipers have been helpful in this area, having larger discs will assist in the dissipation of heat and the ability to brake harder and later.

In a similar move, the Commission will allow Moto2 machines to use brake cooling ducts.  Again, this is to help dissipate the heat from heavier braking.

There are also other changes aiming to close loopholes and ensure closer competition.  Most of the changes are technical in nature.

CAD drawings

For 2022, factories will have to provide 3D CAD drawings or a sample of their aero packages to the Technical Director.  In the past, detailed drawings were deemed sufficient.  But 3D CAD drawings provide far more data beyond the dimensions of the aerodynamic wings and other such devices.  The more detailed drawings should help the Technical Director understand if the materials will move/deflect under aero load, such as had been an issue in Formula 1.

Ride Height

There is also a new process to determine whether a ride height device is legal.  The new procedure hopes to crack down on attempts to go around the ban on systems that use more than the changing attitude of the bike as a trigger.

Performance parts designation

For Moto3, there is a substantial change regarding certain parts.  Starting in 2022, the bike’s wiring loom, fuel pump assembly, and pressure regulator will become a “performance part.”

With the new designation, these parts must now be homologated by the Technical Director and, once approved, will be made available to all teams.   Last year, the Leopard Honda’s seemed to have more speed than other Moto3 machines from KTM and other Hondas.

Perhaps the Commission thought that these parts were the contributing factor to Leopard’s extra speed.  There’s no way to know for certain, but if they were one of the primary reasons for it; the Commission will likely have leveled the playing field somewhat.

Commission FIM

Image credit: FIM

Injury assessment

The Commission is taking steps to tighten up the assessment of injuries.  Specifically, they are setting new evidence requirements before a rider can be deemed fit to return to racing.

The new evidentiary requirements pertain to recovery from a head injury and concussion, abdominal/thoracic injury, and musculoskeletal injuries such as fractions requiring surgery, compound or complex fractures.

The FIM press release does not indicate precisely what that evidence is.  However, it does say that the Chief Medical Officer, MotoGP Medical Director, and the FIM Medical Officer can request a further opinion on the evidence submitted.  They will then make the final determination as to whether a rider is fit to return to competition.

Helmet evaluation

The Commission is making it clear that it wants to know more about head injuries and a helmet’s ability to protect riders.  As a result, there is now a testing process for the helmets of all riders that are taken to the medical center.

All helmets worn by a rider taken to the medical center must now be submitted to medical personnel or the Chief Medical Officer for control by the Technical Director or the Technical Stewards before being returned to the rider or the team manager.

If a rider suffers a head injury, including a concussion or loss of consciousness (unless a specific provision of a national law advises otherwise), the rider’s helmet must be forwarded to the FIM Laboratory at the University of Zaragoza for expert examination and non-destructive analysis.

Helmet manufacturers will be notified of the tests to be carried out and have the right to approve or refuse them.  They may also attend the tests if they desire.  Once testing is complete, the helmet will be returned to the rider, team, or manufacturer.

Disciplinary Regulations

The Commission is creating a new position called the Judge of Facts.  The Judge’s job will be to assess on-track regulation infractions.  Issues such as jump starts, track limits violations, etc., now fall under the auspices of the newly created position.  And to make things more definite, the Judge’s decision is final.  There can be no appeals.

 

 

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