MOTOGP DASHBOARD MESSAGES APPROVED, STARTING 2018
On the eve of the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring, the Grand Prix Commission, MotoGP’s rule making body has allowed a system which was first mooted at the same race last year.
In Assen, the GPC gathered to discuss various minor tweaks to the MotoGP rules, but among them was a major upgrade: permitting the use of dashboard messages by the teams from 2018.
The ability to send messages is piggybacking off the system put in place to aid Race Direction. With spec ECUs and spec dashboards in Moto3 and MotoGP, Race Direction had long wanted the ability to send messages to the bikes on track.
They can already send a signal warning the riders that the race has been red-flagged, or to tell a particular rider that he has been black-flagged, but they had wanted to expand on that ability.
The spec ECU and dashboard used in both Moto3 and MotoGP is capable of operating in full duplex mode, both sending and receiving messages via the timing loops around the track.
That allows Race Direction both to send a message to one or more riders, and to be certain that they have actually received the message (though seeing/reading/comprehending it is a different kettle of fish altogether).
At the Sachsenring MotoGP race last year, a debate unfolded over whether teams should be use that system to send their own messages. The desire to be able to do so came from the fact that multiple riders missed their pit boards, and did not come in on time, thereby throwing away any chance of winning the race.
Afterwards, several riders expressed a desire to be able to receive messages from the team, to help them decide when was the best time to swap bikes from wet tires to slicks.
Their wish has now been granted. From 2018, when the dashboard message system is adopted in MotoGP and Moto3 (Moto2 is to follow, when the engines are switched to Triumph and the electronics to Magneti Marelli), the teams will also be able to send their riders messages, without any limitation or restriction.