2018 MotoGP guide | BikeSocial

Simon Hancocks
By Simon Hancocks
HancocksToad Currently riding a Ducati Multistrada 1260S and loving it! Commutes about 20,000 miles a year and has just finished restoring the slowest Ducati ever built. Happiest when in the saddle.

What is a MotoGP bike? The rules, regulations and technical speak

 

MotoGP is a prototype racing championship. The bikes raced are bespoke, hand-built and are some of the most technologically advanced two-wheeled machines on the planet.

In real terms a MotoGP bike is an out and out racer, built with the sole purpose of getting around a race track in the fastest time possible. That doesn’t mean that a MotoGP bike won’t in some way benefit the bikes that you and I can go out and buy from our local dealer though; many of the technologies born in MotoGP filter down to the bikes we ride on the road. Cleverness like anti-wheelie, launch control, active suspension and quick-shifters were all created initially to help race bikes go fast and are now commonplace in the model ranges of many of the big superbike manufacturers.

 

 

BikeSocial 2018 MotoGP Guide

 

A MotoGP bike must be no greater than 1000cc and must be a four-stroke engine. The maximum number of cylinders is four and the maximum bore is restricted to 81mm - ruling out super-short stroke designs (which allow higher rpm limits, more power, but also increase costs for the teams). To save costs and encourage durability, each rider is allocated seven engines to complete the season, with no development allowed during the year. A maximum of 22-litres of fuel is allowed for each race, ensuring that engines must be fuel efficient as well as reliable - with an average race distance of around 75 miles, bikes have to deliver around 15mpg over a race distance. The engine must run on standard cylinders, no oval pistons or rotary motors are allowed and they cannot be turbo or supercharged. The bikes run carbon brake discs in the dry, which can withstand temperatures of 800° and most of the field run steel discs in the wet which have a more progressive operation than the 'all-or-nothing' of carbon discs. All the bikes use the same make of tyre (Michelin are the current supplier). The bikes all use the same type of Electronic Control Unit [ECU] which is the brain of the bike and controls the fuel flow, traction control, anti-wheelie and a host of other features. This was brought about to curb costs and to also ensure a level playing field for all teams and manufacturers.

 

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A MotoGP bike has a minimum weight of 157kg and most produce over 240bhp. This means at tracks like Mugello in Italy, which has a 1141-metre straight, the bikes will be nudging 220mph (355kph).

There are no creature comforts in MotoGP. The bikes are very stiff, unforgiving and require a completely different skill set to succeed than say a British Superbike. This is the reason that on some occasions highly competitive BSB and WSB riders will take time to adapt to the rigors of controlling a MotoGP machine. It can take some years to master these notoriously hard-to-ride bikes.

Although all bikes are built to the same regulations, there are two categories of teams that race in the MotoGP championship, they are:

 

Factory

This is a team that is funded, managed or directly run by a manufacturer. They generally benefit from large resources, staff and funding. Factory supported teams are: Repsol Honda, Movistar Yamaha, Ducati Team, Aprilia, Suzuki and Red Bull KTM

 

Satellite

These machines will be leased or rented from the factory and run by independent squads. They generally have smaller resources and budgets but, as Cal Crutchlow (pictured below) proved twice in 2016, they can still take the fight to the factory teams. A satellite bike can be the same as those used by a full factory effort, but will usually be slightly lower in specification and will sometimes be 'hand me downs' from the works outfits. Current satellite teams are: LCR Honda, Tech3, MarcVDS Honda, Avintia Ducati, Pramac Ducati and Aspar Ducati.

 

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What’s new in MotoGP for 2018?

 

Aero fairings

One of the biggest changes over the last couple of years is the advent of aerodynamic devices becoming common place in MotoGP. First trialed by the Ducati factory team on its GP15, Yamaha and Honda followed suit installing their own versions shortly after. Aero devices in MotoGP differ slightly from those you see in four wheeled motorsport, where the main objective is to increase corner speed. The wings were designed to help minimize front wheel lift when exiting corners. Prior to wings, front wheel lift was prevented by cutting the engine’s power when the front started to rise. The idea of wings was to force the front end of the bike down onto the track without robbing the bike of any power. The tradeoff is that any aero device will create drag but the gains to be had outweigh the small amount of drag they create.

For 2018 the aero devices will look very different to previous years as wings or winglets are now banned over safety concerns. The governing body of MotoGP, the FIM and the rider’s representative, IRTA deemed that the risk of a riding getting cut by a winglet being too dangerous. Some teams will still run wings in 2018 but they will be incorporated into the fairings or nose cones of the bikes, circumnavigating the ban and keeping the advantage they bring.

 

BikeSocial brings you a comprehensive overview of the coming MotoGP season, the racers, the rides and the events are all here

 

Dashboard messaging

Last season saw teams in MotoGP trial pit-to-bike signaling via the bikes dashboard. At first this was a simple system that would advise of a red-flagged race or black flags. Now the system can relay fairly complex messages to the riders and even in some cases be used as a virtual pitboard. If this is selected the rider can see things like the gap to the rider ahead or behind, lap times and how many laps are left to race.

 

The types of messages a rider can receive are listed below:

 

SIGNAL

TEXT

INFORMATION SENT TO TRANSPONDER

Red Flag

RED FLAG

Sent to all bikes in all parts of the circuit

Black Flag

BL ACKFLG

Sent to the bike that needs to retire

Black Flag/Orange Disc

BLKORANG

Sent to the bike that needs to retire

Drop Positions *

DROP-##

Sent ta bike to mean it must drop back positions

Ride Through

RIDETHRO

Sent to a bike to advise of a ride through penalty

Track limits warning

TRKLIMIT

Sent to a bike that has exceeded track limits

Blue ag

BLUEFL AG

Sent to a bike to advise a faster bike is trying to pass

Chequered Flag

CHEQFL AG

To each bike as it crosses the finish line

Time Penalty *

TPEN#.#

To advise of a time penalty added at the end of the race

 

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What’s the race format?

The MotoGP championship awards points based on finishing positions down to 15th place. A maximum of 25 points are allocated for a win, then 20, 16, 13, 11, 10 and so on, until 15th place receives one point. At the end of the season the rider with the greatest number of points is crowed the world champion. Points are also allocated to teams and manufacturers for their respective world championships.

Below is the outline of a race weekend for MotoGP at a typical European round – the times and durations can vary and are shown as a guideline only.

 

Friday

09:00-09:40

40 min.

Moto3

Free Practice 1

09:55-10:40

45 min.

MotoGP

Free Practice 1 timed for Qualifying

10:55-11:40

45 min.

Moto2

Free Practice 1

13:10-13:50

40 min.

Moto3

Free Practice 2

14:05-14:50

45 min.

MotoGP

Free Practice 2 timed for Qualifying

15:05-15:50

45 min.

Moto2

Free Practice 2

Saturday

09:00-09:40

40 min.

Moto3

Free Practice 3

09:55-10:40

45 min.

MotoGP

Free Practice 3 timed for Qualifying

10:55-11:40

45 min.

Moto2

Free Practice 3

12:35-13:15

40 min.

Moto3

Qualifying

13:30-14:00

30 min.

MotoGP

Free Practice 4 not timed for Qualifying

14.10-14.25

15 min.

MotoGP

Qualifying 1

14.35-14.50

15 min.

MotoGP

Qualifying 2

15:05-15:50

45 min.

Moto2

Qualifying

Sunday

08:40-09:00

20 min.

Moto3

Warm Up

09:10-09:30

20 min.

Moto2

Warm Up

09:40-10:00

20 min.

MotoGP

Warm Up

11:00

Race

Moto3

Race

12:20

Race

Moto2

Race

14:00

Race

MotoGP

Race

 

BikeSocial 2018 MotoGP Guide

 

The action begins on the Friday before the race with the riders heading out for the first of four timed practice sessions. A rider that takes part in these sessions and records a time of within 107% of the fastest time set is deemed to have qualified for the race. Based on combined practice times the ten quickest riders from FP1, FP2 and FP3 are progressed into QP2, they will fight it out for the top 10 places on the grid. All the other riders will take part in QP1 with the fastest two riders from this group getting a promotion to join the top-10 shootout in QP2. So, QP2 forms the top 12 places and QP1 forms the remainder of the grid.

If a rider cannot compete in a qualifying session for any reason but is still fit to race, Race Direction may allow them to start if they have recorded a lap within 107% of the fastest time in one of the free practice sessions. They will normally start either from the back row of the grid or from the pit-lane.

 

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Where to watch

If you haven’t seen a MotoGP before, you really need to try and get to watch one live. Nothing compares to the brutality of a MotoGP bike being ridden, especially as we have such a high number of talented riders vying for the win. Simply put it is a breathtaking sight and sound. For most of the rounds though, it'll be TV and online coverage. Dorna, the company that run MotoGP and the support classes put together some top quality coverage. They invest in new technology like ultra-high speed cameras for slow motion replays and 540° on bike cameras that move as the bike does. For viewers in Britain, all of this footage can be viewed on BT Sport’s excellent live shows and ITV4’s highlights show (broadcast the Monday after each race). If you want to watch live but don't have BT Sport, Dorna's own online MotoGP Video Pass also allows access to multi-screen options, selective cameras and every MotoGP event ever. There are also plenty of exclusive interviews and features between the races and tests. A 2017 season pass costs £177.78 but there are a variety of payment plans, details of which can be found here.

 

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Support series

There are two support classes that follow the MotoGP circus to every round, Moto2 and Moto3, with a third that joins them at selected European events, The Red Bull Rookies MotoGP Cup. Each of the three support classes is designed to help a rider progress and move forward and, although not all will make it, eventually ride in MotoGP.

Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup – Identical KTM RC250R bikes ridden by the fastest teens in the world, including our own Dan Jones.

 

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Moto3

- 250cc single cylinder four stroke prototypes. Bikes from Honda and KTM - 55bhp, 150mph.

 

Moto2

- All bikes use the same Honda CBR600-based engine, frame design is not limited - 140bhp, 175mph.

 

 

BikeSocial 2018 MotoGP Guide

2018 MotoGP calendar

 

Date

Country/Region

Circuit

18-Mar

Qatar

Losail International Circuit

08-Apr

Republica Argentina

Termas de Rio Hondo

22-Apr

Americas

Circuit of the Americas

06-May

Spain

Circuito de Jerez

20-May

France

Le Mans

03-Jun

Italy

Autodromo del Mugello

17-Jun

Catalunya

Barcelona - Catalunya

01-Jul

Netherlands

TT Circuit Assen

15-Jul

Germany

Sachsenring

05-Aug

Czech Republic

Automotodrom Brno

12-Aug

Austria

Red Bull Ring-Spielberg

26-Aug

Great Britain

Silverstone

09-Sep

San Marino edellaRiviera di Rimini

Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli

23-Sep

Aragon

MotorLand Aragon

07-Oct

Thailand

Chang International Circuit

21-Oct

Japan

Twin Ring Motegi

28-Oct

Australia

Philip Island

04-Nov

Malaysia

Sepang International Circuit

18-Nov

Comunitat Valenciana

Comunitat Valenciana - Ricardo Tormo

 

2018 MotoGP Preview BikeSocial

2018 MotoGP entry list

 

#

RIDER

NATIONALITY

TEAM

MACHINE

4

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO

ITALIAN

DUCATI TEAM

DUCATI

5

JOHANN ZARCO

FRENCH

MONSTER TECH 3*

YAMAHA

9

DANILO PETRUCCI

ITALIAN

OCTO PRAMAC RACING*

DUCATI

10

XAVIER SIMEON

BELGIAN

REALE AVINTIA RACING*

DUCATI

12

TOM LUTHI

SWISS

EG 0,0 MARC VDS*

HONDA

17

KAREL ABRAHAM

CZECH

PULL&BEAR ASPAR TEAM*

DUCATI

19

ALVARO BAUTISTA

SPANISH

PULL&BEAR ASPAR TEAM*

DUCATI

21

FRANCO MORBIDELLI

ITALIAN

EG 0,0 MARC VDS*

HONDA

25

MAVERICK VIÑALES

SPANISH

MOVISTAR YAMAHA MotoGP

YAMAHA

26

DANI PEDROSA

SPANISH

REPSOL HONDA TEAM

HONDA

29

ANDREA IANNONE

ITALIAN

TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR

SUZUKI

30

TAKAAKI NAKAGAMI

JAPANESE

LCR HONDA IDEMITSU*

HONDA

35

CAL CRUTCHLOW

BRITISH

LCR HONDA CASTROL*

HONDA

38

BRADLEY SMITH

BRITISH

RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING

KTM

41

ALEIX ESPARGARO

SPANISH

APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI*

APRILIA

42

ALEX RINS

SPANISH

TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR

SUZUKI

43

JACK MILLER

AUSTRALIAN

OCTO PRAMAC RACING*

DUCATI

44

POL ESPARGARO

SPANISH

RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING

KTM

45

SCOTT REDDING

BRITISH

APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI*

APRILIA

46

VALENTINO ROSSI

ITALIAN

MOVISTAR YAMAHA MotoGP

YAMAHA

53

TITO RABAT

SPANISH

REALE AVINTIA RACING*

DUCATI

55

HAFIZH SYAHRIN

MALAYSIAN

MONSTER TECH 3*

YAMAHA

93

MARC MARQUEZ

SPANISH

REPSOL HONDA TEAM

HONDA

99

JORGE LORENZO

SPANISH

DUCATI TEAM

DUCATI

 

2018 MotoGP Preview BikeSocial
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