MotoGP riders want pit rule tweaks for flag-to-flag bike swap races

MotoGP champions Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo believe tweaks are required to reduce the risk on the rare occasions the flag-to-flag format is used

MotoGP riders want pit rule tweaks for flag-to-flag bike swap races

A pitstop for a bike swap is implemented when riders have to change between dry and wet tyres in a race, but has also been mandated twice in dry races.

Both instances have been due to tyre concerns, with Bridgestone in Australia in 2013 and then Michelin in Argentina's second round of the '16 season earlier this month.

In that race, Aprilia rider Alvaro Bautista collected one of his mechanics while entering his pitbox.

"For sure when you stay in the pit it's dangerous," Rossi said.

"Also in Formula 1, a lot of time [that] happens, that the driver makes a mistake and takes out some mechanics unfortunately, like happened to Bautista.

"I saw the video and I don't know if Bautista braked too deep or maybe if in-front of his box was wet, because maybe he arrived a little bit too fast.

"I think that making a difference in the [speed] limit, go slower in the pit, can be an idea for being more safe."

Marquez - who gained an advantage over Rossi changing bikes on his way to victory at Termas de Rio Hondo - feels that the system remains MotoGP's best option, when it is called on.

He did, though, also suggest reducing the number of people in pitlane as a worthwhile measure.

"It's really difficult to understand for the riders and it looks dangerous, but for me it's the safest way," he said.

"We must think about it. Maybe reducing the speed can be a good option, but sure the riders will complain that we are losing too much time there.

"I think another thing is less people in the pitlane would be better.

"In the end, sometimes you go there and there are many people in the pitlane and it can be dangerous."

Lorenzo crashed out of the Argentina race before the mandatory bike swap, and is less of a fan of the format.

While he accepts that it is a result of modern media demands creating a reluctance to stop races when the weather changes, he agrees that refinement would be beneficial.

"Personally, I am not a big fan of this flag-to-flag thing," he said.

"But in terms of television and all of these other things, I think it's the best.

"We have to find the compromise and find solutions to get the risk down, in this case not only for the riders but also for the mechanics.

"For the riders, you don't know the rider behind you, what he is going to do, or in which speed, which position he is when you are stopping and changing bike.

"We just need to work to reduce the risk, because it looks like it's going to be the rule for the future."

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