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MotoGP Spanish GP

MotoGP experimenting with rider radio system in Jerez test

MotoGP experimented with a new radio system that would allow race direction to send messages to riders during Monday's post-Spanish Grand Prix test at Jerez.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

This project, still at an embryonic stage and with a lot of development ahead, is initially born with the spirit of playing in favour of safety, although other practical applications are not being ruled out depending on the outcome of future tests of the system.

The idea is that Race Direction can communicate with the riders through previously recorded messages, when they approach an area of the circuit in which there has been an incident.

It is understood that there will be some agreed areas to establish this communication, in order to avoid disturbing the rider who receives it.

Those chosen for this first experience were Yamaha's Fabio Quartararo, Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro and Tech3 GasGas rider Jonas Folger.

Although not too many details of the technology used are known, Autosport understands that Dorna Sports and the suppliers of the helmets and the overalls of the chosen riders have worked together to incorporate a small receiver in the leathers and a speaker inside the pads of the helmet.

Through the latter, the communication with the rider will be generated, which would be one way from race direction to the recipient.

Apparently, this earpiece is not located inside the ear canal in order to be as non-invasive as possible, but would contact the outer surface of the ear.

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The test was closely followed by Dorna's research and development department, who were equipped with machines to measure the decibels emitted by a MotoGP prototype.

This initiative takes up an avenue that has been explored in the past and which, so far, has not had the desired success.

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The last time it was experimented was with Stefan Bradl, at a test held at Misano three years ago, after the issue arose at one of the safety commission meetings.

At that time, the riders asked the organiser for an improvement in the signalling of the flags. From then on, LED panels were implemented trackside, which have also been improved over time.

Quartararo says the system will be useful as a safety measure as “you never look at the dashboard” to see messages, but it needs refining to be more comfortable for the riders.

“It was three laps of having ‘red flag, red flag, red flag’ [in my ears],” he said of his trial of the system on Monday at Jerez.

“So, it was good and I think if they are able to use it in a good way it can be safe.

“But I think we don’t need to have a lot of people talking. It must be really an emergency.

“It’s difficult, because when you are riding and you hear something… the first lap was a little bit strange because you are turning and you hear ‘red flag’ it’s strange.

“But it’s for the safety and if we can use it, and especially for red flag or bike in the middle of the track, I think it can be helpful.

“You never look at the dashboard. Even when you change gears you never look at the lights. It’s difficult, especially at this track which is really small, it’s difficult to read your dashboard.

“It was really small. The thing was not in the ear. The weight was like 100 grams.

“But it was uncomfortable, so they have to work on a system. I had to put the ear phone then the band for the head to keep it stable. It was a prototype, and I think it was good for the first time we try.”

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