MotoGP's Radio Communication System Won't Come "Before 2024"
In 2020, several MotoGP riders tested a radio communication system. At the one-day test in Jerez this Monday, Dorna started a new attempt.
In addition to the development work on the MotoGP bikes, the one-day test in Jerez focused on testing two new systems for communication between riders and race control.
During a test in Misano in 2020, Dorna had already equipped some riders with such devices, however, had received a rather tough feedback.
MotoGP Sport Director Carlos Ezpeleta on the situation in 2020: “The riders were not very happy with the first system, they felt uncomfortable with it and with the noise level. So we decided to go with LED panels, which have been compulsory for all tracks since last year.”
The main purpose of the communication is to provide information about dangerous situations and changes in conditions. In 2020, many riders complained about the poor visibility of the marshals’ flags.
Since 2022, the LED panels also used in Formula 1 are now compulsory at every track on the calendar. Now, to take a further step, Dorna tested two new, revised variants for possible radio communication between riders and race control.
One variant is routed around the earpieces used by the riders, the other is inserted directly into the ear. “Some riders have already tried the version with the earplugs and feel comfortable,” Ezpeleta revealed.
Feedback in 2023 was much more positive than in 2020. So much so that the team at Dorna is already thinking about the future potential of the project.
“At a later stage, if the teams agree and if the riders feel more comfortable with the system, I think it will probably evolve to a two-way communication between the riders and the race management or the teams and the riders.”
Not "before the start of the 2024 season"
How early it will be possible to reliably use pit radio is not clear yet. First, there are still some obstacles to be cleared.
“It’s a challenge for us because the helmets are tight and the bikes are much louder compared to cars. There’s a lot more movement – the riders have to be able to move freely on the bike, so it’s a lot harder.”
“Also, race control has to be able to communicate with the rider himself, not through the bike. So there are some things we still need to work on, but we are very happy.”
However, there is to be no thought of implementing it into the regular race calendar before the start of the 2024 season.
“The introduction depends on various factors and will certainly not happen before the start of the 2024 season in Qatar – and only when the riders feel confident with it. There is still a lot to do on the software side.”