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Combined Rider and Bike Weight Limit for Moto GP: What do you think?

A new rule in Moto GP that would require the bike/rider combination to meet a minimum weight is gaining momentum with the likes of Valentino Rossi and Marco Simoncelli, two of the bigger riders, pushing it for next year. What do you think?

Dani Pedrosa is one of the smaller riders, and he has nearly 50 pounds’ weight advantage versus the largest riders he competes against. Everyone admits this is an advantage on acceleration out of corners, and with regard to fuel consumption. Nicky Hayden also claims that heavier riders wear out tires more quickly.

Pedrosa counters that his size puts him at a disadvantage when it comes to braking and mid-corner traction.

We think the biggest issue is fuel consumption, which is restricted in Moto GP, of course, and requires larger riders to tune their bikes more conservatively in order to finish races. Give us your thoughts.

102 Comments

  1. Josh130 says:

    Sorry, but the claim that lighter weight puts you at a disadvantage in braking and mid-corner is laughable. Yes, friction force is determined by the weight of the rider. Unfortunately for Pedrosa’s argument, there is also less friction force required to achieve the same turn at a given speed. In an ideal situation, the turning speed should be independent of the mass and Pedrosa would be just as fast as any other rider. In the real world, Pedrosa might struggle mid-corner because he has less weight to hang off of the bike. In braking, however, his low weight is an advantage because it lowers the bike’s center of gravity and reduces the bike’s tendency to shift weight forward under braking.

    Think about it for a second, all of motorsport knows that lighter vehicles handle better. I can’t imagine why Pedrosa would think differently.

    I am all for a combined limit.

  2. Tim says:

    The thing that some people seem to be overlooking is that these guys are all incredibly fit. They’re all thin. However, a 6 foot thin guy is going to carry more weight than a 5’4″ thin guy. So why penalize a guy for being 6’0″ if you have options (this isn’t the NBA where you don’t have decent options to level the playing field.)

    Also, if weight is such an advantage in cornering to offset the power / acceleration advantages of a smaller person, then why don’t we see the 5’4″ guys adding weight to the bikes? It’s because the acceleration advantages outweight the advantages of more weight in cornering.

  3. pat says:

    As it stands, being a lighter rider may have a small advantage but next year that is going to change with the increase in engine displacement anyways. Going back to 1000cc machines will require more rider skill to tame the beasts. The engines will be slightly detuned to get the power to the ground, which will allow for a more even playing field. I believe that the fuel limit rule is stupid. Let the bikes race, they should allow for plenty of fuel to be consumed. The teams would be stupid to put more fuel than needed in the bikes anyways. But if the bike needs to be tuned a little richer to produce the horsepower desired than so be it.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “they should allow for plenty of fuel to be consumed. The teams would be stupid to put more fuel than needed in the bikes anyways.”

      EXCELLENT point. same as F1, fuels density already makes it “self-regulating” to a degree.

    • jim says:

      +1 Fuel rules are idiotic in racing.

  4. Pete says:

    While I come from a karting background where everything is done on combined weight, I just can’t see it in MotoGP.

    As has been mentioned: would it then be fair that Rossi hustles around a 300 pound bike, and little Dani has to wrestle a 350 pound bike around the track?

    I say leave it as is. Maybe even drop the minimum weight on the bike a bit, and give them all the fuel they want. Turn them back into black striping machines!

  5. goose says:

    Weight limits for bike and rider combined? No… Screw that. The pinnacle of motorsport is meant to be a touch uncompromising bitch of a place. Here is what these rule making monkeys should do.

    1. No Fuel limit.
    2. No fuel type restrictions.
    3. Engine crank cases, crank, rods must be from a production motorcycle.
    4. Minimum engine size 1000cc, max who cares!
    4. Engine must be turbo charged.
    5. minimum boost 15PSI regulated by a control wastegate and boost system.
    6. Control ECU – limited traction control, wheelie control

    Every manufacturer currently makes a bike that fits the base for these rules. Anyone can enter as long as they abide by the rules.

    You would have the best racing ever! Only the truely gifted maniacs out there could ride them!

  6. Drake says:

    Wait, unfair advantage due to smaller size?

    Does anyone think there should be the same limitations in NBA too? NFL? MMA?

    Why is it that when you have a height/weight advantage in sports it’s fine… except Motorcycle racing? I say we are all born and have to make the best of what we have. No one is putting caps or restrictions on NBA player heights or NFL player weight, why do we have to restrict the one thing shorter/lighter people have an advantage on?

    • Chris says:

      Boxing has weight classes… Lighter boxers are allowed to fight heavier boxers if they like, but a heavier boxer [b]has[/b] to lose weight to fight a lighter guy.

  7. Keith Keller says:

    Of course there should be a minimum bike & rider combined limit. Anyone who has ever competed in kart racing at any level knows the importance of having a combined limit. Without one the 15 pound lighter driver will win every time. Ridiculous that there isn’t one today–regardless of the power the bikes make.

    • Norm G. says:

      apples to oranges my friend. it’s more complex. other than the common denominator of forward/back motion, 4-wheelers like karts, autos, and open wheel F1 basically operate on 3 degrees of movement (X,Y,Z) pitch, yaw, and up/down. single track vehicles (ie. motorcycles) also operate on 3 degrees of movement, but it’s pitch, yaw, and roll. it’s the substitution of this variable of “roll angle in degrees” for the vertical Y-axis (and the exponentially larger displacement values involved with all 3) that changes CONSIDERABLY how one goes about the task of managing vehicle dynamics. again, it’s more complex… no aero packages here and increased weight IMPROVES mechanical grip so reaching for the “ez button” is not the option it once was.

    • MGNorge says:

      Nor has it panned out that the lightest rider in MotoGP wins every time.

  8. Robbo says:

    How about unlimited everything? Fuel, engine, etc. The actual racing will determine what goes fastest around the track. Oh, but then it gets “too expensive”. I thought this was the premier racing class. Maybe my suggestion would be entertaining but astronomically expensive to win.

    Still, limiting fuel in premier class racing seems silly. It will probably self-limit anyway as carrying too much fuel will have negative consequences of their own.

  9. Gritboy says:

    I’m totally down with it. They’re finding hobbit sized riders these days.

  10. Bob Veronese says:

    Yes, there should be a min. total weight, it is not fare that some riders weigh 50# less than most. They have that in most racing already and it is huge advantage to be lighter!

  11. Norm G. says:

    regarding this issue, i say no. as much as i’m all for applying the science of power/weight ratios, this does smell a bit of “belly-aching”. 99 times out of 100, i side with a rider’s complaints, but sorry, not on this one. you’re flagged fellas. if we go there, hell we may as well just adopt CAN-SBK (eh?) or old FUSA rules and make the class dyno controlled (250hp limited).

    now if parity in power/weight were going to happen…? it should’ve been cried for back when we switched to the “gutless wonder” 800’s… not NOW when we were about switch to 1000’s (10cc’s larger than even the old 990’s)…?! puuuhhhlease, just allow everybody an extra .5 liter in tank size and be done with it.

  12. motobell says:

    My rules

    1. NO FUEL LIMIT – get as much power out of your engine and optimize weight of fuel as you desire
    2. LOWER BIKE WEIGHT – if they lower the bike weight to 300lbs(or what ever reasonable number) then get rid of all ballast. combined
    3. NO COMBINED WEIGHT LIMIT – both bike guys and amml guy have their advantages in different parts – not statistically relevant discussion
    4. MORE POWER THAN YOU CAN USE – 1000cc less restrictive, no fuel will bring more power than one can use and eliminate this stupid debate of weight
    5.

  13. Shriker says:

    It is rediculous that they dont already have this rule. With bikes and riders being so light (unlike cars) , the small difference in weight can make for large differences in performance. People can only change their bodies so much by losing weight etc.

    There should absolutely be a rule allowing bike plus rider to be a certain minimum. This evens the playing field and makes your advantages and disadvantages based on your skills (and teams money unfortunately) .

    A good way to look at these situations is always to take it to the extreme…..what if a very small person (aka Pedrosa) is in the championship hunt with a larger one (aka rossi) with a 50lb weight difference that can amount to 10 % or more of total bike and rider weight. In some racing venues a 1 or 2 % difference can be huge.

  14. John says:

    That is sooooo stupid. There will never be parity in any human endeavor. Do we have height limits with basketball players, weight limits on sumo wrestlers, talent limits on anything else? Hey, if you don’t fit the profile than change it or do something else.

    • MGNorge says:

      Exactly! If weight was a decisive factor in Sumo wrestling and you were spotting 30 pounds to your biggest competitor then better get on down to the Sushi bar. If being lighter gave an advantage of flexibility then better take some hot laps around the Sushi bar. Wait a minute, there’s a better solution, if a wrestler weighs more than prime let’s fill his lungs with helium to make him lighter. If he’s less than optimum weight we’ll have him wear lead weights to even the playing field.

      If a team feels they just have to have parity in overall weight then let them find a lighter rider.

    • Chris says:

      Boxing has weight limits.

  15. Brad says:

    The fuel rule is stupid…Adding more weight to your bike when you weigh 30 lb more than an other rider is also stupid… We need rules against stupid rules…

  16. Brad says:

    I read somewhere that the yamaha M1 was much lighter than the min. weight required in moto GP.. So they added ballast in various locations that effected its overall handeling..Wouldn’t it be better to ballance the difference with combined weight by allowing the bike to weigh less to compensate for the heavyier rider…It doesn’t realy mean lighter riders will need to ride a bike that weighs more but heavy riders can instead ride a lighter bike ?

  17. endoman says:

    Has any rider ever had fuel issues? I’ve heard them talk about backing off a bit because of tire wear, but never heard any rider say he had to slow because fuel was getting low.

    • Goose says:

      My must not follow MotoGP very closely. The stupid fuel limitation has affected many races in the last few years. The bikes don’t run out of gas, the ECU starts reducing fuel (i.e. power) until it calculates the riders has enough to finish the race. Pretty much all the riders have complained about the power disappearing late in the race.

      I’m not opposed to a combined weight limit but the real problem in MotoGP these days is the stupid FIM reducing displacement to 800 CC and ridiculously small fuel load allowed.

      Next year the 1000 will be back, if the FIM recovers from its HUA status and lets the teams decide how much fuel to carry I think a minimum combined weight will be unnecessary.

      JMHO,

      Goose

  18. Greg Dieckhaus says:

    This is ridiculous. If “jockey-sized” riders like Dani Pedrosa won the championship every year, one could say that there was a size/weight issue. Winning the MotoGP championship requires a good level of fitness and a good bike package. End of story.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “This is ridiculous. If “jockey-sized” riders like Dani Pedrosa won the championship every year, one could say that there was a size/weight issue.”

      exactly, both dani and casey are known for going down faster than “2-dollar” whores. meanwhile rossi has bagged 2 titles in the gutless 800 era, nicky bagged a 990, and giant simoncelli bagged a title on a ‘250 in the modern era.

  19. ze says:

    i think dani is right, there are advanteges and disadvantages having a low weight,
    so finish with that rule of fuel comsumption,
    which, to begin, is there for what reason ????

  20. ROXX says:

    Having to save fuel in a MotoGP race has got to be one of the most ridiculous rules on planet earth!
    If that remains, then yes, the weights must be equal.

  21. johnne lee says:

    Absolutely!!!

    The greatest and longest standing professional racing has always had combined weight guidelines/rules.

    I helped my Gramps when he raced horses. There was always a weight balancing factor.

    I always get a kick out of guys/gals carrying 20 extra pounds of belly/butt who spend major $$$ putting titanium and carbon fiber all over their bikes.

    Anyone who thinks rider weight is not a factor just didn’t do well in physics class!

  22. Pac!enT says:

    I think that fuel consumption is that issue, because if limit would be same for 1000cccm engines like is atm for 800cccm, there is no reason why factories should switch to for bigger engine, or they just cant use him for his full potencial. FIM or Dorna should ask for data about consumption, compare it with heavy and light riders and find our right ratio for some weight categories and then give them a bit more fuel. Othervise we will see in front only small riders, boring races + huge investment from factories, what certainly wasnt goal of switching back to 1000ccm.

  23. Vrooom says:

    It seems like adding a minimum weight would just be one more regulation to stifle development of new technology. Get rid of the fuel limitations, that’s a far simpler solution. If light riders have an advantage, so be it. That’s just one more factor in determining a winning season.

    • Norm G. says:

      i say if they move forward with this rule…? then rossi must cease and desist sticking his leg out in turns. 🙂 i’m gonna saw that frickin’ limb off…!!! LOL the only thing he’s doing there is “dynamically” using his EXTRA weight to HIS advantage. in contrast, static ballast on a motorcycle doesn’t afford you that option. once the race is underway, if it ain’t correctly placed…? you’re stuck.

  24. smpeto32 says:

    Forget all these restrictions, what about motocross style? Instead of one race, how about two, shorter ones? Best average takes the overall, and fans get to see two different races… Tire problems would be solved for heavier riders, so they can let it hang out more!

    Problem solved.

  25. Steve says:

    I used to hate the idea of any regulations, but now that they regulate fuel I only think it’s fair that they even out everyone’s total weight.

    My preferred way would be to not regulate fuel, let them burn as much as they need, but to appease the greenies they can’t do that so instead make it even and regulate weight.

  26. Chris says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing MotoGP turned into andro-riddled gorillas riding 300hp pocketbikes. That would be fun!

  27. Tom Barber says:

    The problem with not making the weight minimum inclusive of the rider is that, if it applies only to the bike, then uniformity of accelerated mass is not genuinely accomplished. If the goal is to achieve uniformity of accelerated mass, then it is necessary that the weight minimums be inclusive of the rider. The only alternative that gets around the conundrum is to do away with the weight minimums altogether. It therefore seems to me that the more interesting question for debate is whether the weight minimums are even desirable to begin with.

    • motobell says:

      I agree directionaly.. but the minimum weight rule is there most racing forms to prevent cost escalation is search of exotic materials and engineering them.

  28. qmbcole says:

    Makes sense to have as even a playing field as possible. Always amazed that this wasn’t implemented years ago. Hard to argue that part of Dani’s appeal to HRC was his tiny weight affecting the bike and tires.

    • MGNorge says:

      But using Dani as a specific example it hasn’t been shown that his light weight and size has translated into pdium finishes each time he’s raced. I think it’s just good ol’ whining at its best.

  29. supermodels and MotoGP riders are too skinny these days; something must be done!

  30. MGNorge says:

    You haven’t seen what’s next. A limit in shoe size to no more than size 9 (US). It is believed that riders with a larger shoe have an unfair leverage advantage with the gear lever, making gear changes faster. Unfortunately, this had lead to some riders amputating toes and binding their feet in order to comply. After that they’re going to look at wind resistance in respect to riders with long necks. I’m not even going to tell you what riders are thinking of doing if that goes into effect!

    MotoGP is an open class, let’s not dilute it down with this stuff. It’s all part of what factors in for each team.

  31. Tim says:

    I believe it makes sense. Either that, or do away with the fuel limits or the one tire manufacturer choice. Anything that will make the racing closer, I’m all for it. I don’t believe with the bigger motors that acceleration will be such a big issue for the larger riders next year, but something needs to be done to make these races more competitive. I agree I don’t want to see them reach NASCAR extremes, as far as restrictions and rules, but nothing wrong with a little balance to try to sort our who is really the best rider. MotoGP has been boring as heck since going to the smaller motors, that much is undisputable.

    • MGNorge says:

      I understand the viewpoint here about the best rider. But as I’ve mentioned before, for me it’s all about the machines and the engineering that goes into them. Yes, I like some of the riders but not that crowning the best rider is all that important to me. I’d love to see some of the engineers who developed new technology and won with it be placed on the podium. Riders are certainly a big part of the equation but not the only part. I don’t want the engineering dumbed down in order to even the playing field for the riders. Let them apply their own skills to overcome other areas.

  32. Wendy says:

    AFAIK, both 125cc and Moto2 have combined weights totals. Since a small vehicle such as a MotoGP has such a small mass, the weight of the rider is very important. Dani is too small and weak to ride his big bad ‘sickle? He does win races, he doesn’t seem to have the brainpower to put together a championship.
    A total weight would mean that ballasting would aid the engineers and be one more thing that adds to the parade lap style of MotoGP.
    I say go for it. Total weight suggestion, 1,000 KG. :-))

  33. endoman says:

    Shut up and race!

  34. Craig says:

    Spec tires end tire wars, what will spec (or minimum) weights do to suspension development? One can argue that it levels the field, placing restrictions, but why not let the companies run what they can afford to? I’d love to see a field of bikes where it is how fast can you afford to go with no restrictions on engines, tires, suspension or aerodynamics on both two and four wheels. Will that ever happen? No, but it would be cool to see what comes from it…

  35. I hate to see these restrictions. Lets keep it simple.
    We certainly don’t want to get like nascar.
    It would really be great to run what you brung!!!!

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “We certainly don’t want to get like nascar”

      you sure about that…? i wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss nascar. not a fan persay, but definitely a fan of the business model. if only we motorcyclists can stop and be objective for a sec, there IS something we can learn from their healthy economics. fan support of the franchise, fan support of the sponsors, etc. consumer behavior is the key. it always has been.

      • Tim says:

        I’m not anti NASCAR. They definitely get some things right. My biggest problem with NASCAR is they simply allow too many cars on the track. Way too many laps are ran under the caution flag. Nothing fun about watching that.

  36. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    Rossi’s heavy? 🙂

  37. Matt says:

    Race what you brung, that includes yourself. If you’re a fat bastard lose some weight, if you make spaghetti look thick eat a cheeseburger, and if your bike is slow ride something faster. Quit bellyaching and race!

  38. Brian says:

    This is the norm in many other sports. Seems to make sense to me.

  39. Jeri says:

    Even with Pedrosa’s light weight, he hasn’t won any MotoGP Championship yet unlike Mr. Rossi who’s heavy and won many champioships already. So what’s the issue here?

  40. Mark Stockdale says:

    I beleave this idea has merit. Weight the riders at the begining of the season, take the average weight and make that the add on weight for riders under the average weight.
    Then let the teams add the weight in any manor they want as long as it is safe. It would be fun just to see the ideas they would comeup with.
    The factories can get plunty crazy. Does anyone else remeber the Randy Imola factory test fram they made of ultra light tubing and then charged the fram with inert gas to try and regain thestrength and rigidity.

  41. Ken says:

    No, this is a bad idea.

    1) Smaller riders will have to push around heavier bikes and bigger riders have to push around lighter bikes. I agree with that.

    2) Aerodynamics will still be a factor. The bigger guys will complain about that too. Spec fairings anyone?

    3) Once you start down this path you will wind up with NASCAR on two wheels.

    4) The only fair way to do this is to examine every part for the forces it exerts on the dynamic aspects of a motorcycle and adopt a sliding scale of weights for things like wheels and tires (rotational mass), crankshafts, etc., so the bigger guy’s bikes are harder to steer and such so their weight isn’t an advantage.

    5) In tarmac racing cars the center of mass stays relatively close to the same position relative to the ground all the time. You can ballast the vehicle much easier to obtain optimum weight distribution and it doesn’t affect the steering very much. In motorcycles the CoG shifts position relative to the ground much more and the location of that weight would affect the steering to a much greater degree.

    6) This is petty bickering because of the idiotic fuel limitations. Let them run as much fuel as they need to and quit the economy run. It didn’t work in Group C auto racing and it sucks everywhere else they’ve tried it.

    7) Coming next: The NBA is going to have lower hoops for the small guys they’re going to have to hire to be politically correct and Michael Phelps is going to have to swim in a pool of corn syrup to equalize for age differences in the next Olympics. Sign up Grandpa. All in the name of equal results.

    8) The drivers are not really part of the aerodynamic package and are less of a percentage of the weight of the vehicle. The drivers are also locked down so they don’t influence the handling the way a motorcycle rider does.

    • Chris says:

      I do agree that the fuel limit should be removed. Give them 6+ gallons if they so choose. The rider will have to decide if the weight penalty for all that fuel is worth it…

  42. Tom R says:

    I think this is going too far. There comes a point that you just have to let each physical specimen figure out how to go fastest with the machine he has. It is an important part of the overall calculation strategies of racing like power vs fuel economy, and tire grip vs tread life. Otherwise what is next? Varying the effectiveness of steering dampeners (dampers?) based of the riders’ most recently measured forearm strength?

    If a guy is too big to ride in motorcycle racing, let him take up cars…or tractor pulls, or America’s Cup yachts.

    • Chris says:

      Too big is too big. But how small is too small? Pedrosa weighs maybe 110 lbs. in gear… The rest of the riders have a wrestling mentality where they have to cut weight to be competitive.

  43. Stinky says:

    I’m not a Pedrosa fan. I’d love to see him have to muscle a heavy bike around, but it’s not fair, so I’d have to say no. But, I don’t wanna see little jockeys picked over real riders and make it into thoroughbred racing. Big talented racers such as Ben Spies might still find a way (probably will) to win but it would be nice to see a level field. Ballasting a bike is bad, but at least a heavier rider can shift weight to advantage whereas a bike is stuck where it’s stuck.Drag racing has dealt with this dilema but they don’t have the radical shifting on all axis.

  44. Ian says:

    If a small, light rider like Dani Pedrosa has such a weight advantage, then how come he hasn’t won the MotoGP championship. Valentino Rossi has won the championship a number of times and his size didn’t seem to disadvantage him. Sounds like a bit of a whinge.

    • Chris says:

      Pedrosa isn’t very consistant. And atleast in the past, if the bike wasn’t perfect he couldn’t ride around the problems.

  45. Mike B. says:

    As long as the min. weight isn’t too high, it seems like a way to even things out. If the min. weight is so high that all combined weights are the same then you’ve got the smallest riders muscling around the heaviest bikes, which doesn’t seem fair either.

    • burtg says:

      Excellent point Mike. A worst case scenario: The heavy guys get really light and flickable bikes, while the light guys have to muscle really heavy bikes. That doesn’t sound fair.
      I do like the bike/rider weight limit…so there has to be some happy middle ground here.

  46. Big Swole says:

    I totally agree with it. Like said above, it would let the riders skill set and bike itself be the deciding factor. I did track days on my R1 in the Advanced class and at 6’2″ 255 lbs., I had everything against me to keep up with the skinny / short guys. Fuel consumption, tire wear, braking, accelorating, etc. Being lighter is always and advantage in most catagories.

  47. Clay says:

    Who’s winning now heavy, light, or neither. I don’t see an issue personally.

  48. Chris says:

    I am surprised that it took this long for them to come up with an idea like this… The bigger guys shouldn’t have to become annorexic (sp?) to compete with abnormally small people like Pedrosa.

    What should the minimum weight be then? 500 lbs? 520 lbs? 150-160 lbs for a rider in gear sounds fairly reasonable… Another 350 or so lbs for the bike? 500 lbs total? More?

  49. big bopper says:

    Many forms of racing have a minimum weight for driver/car combined, Formula 1 being the most prominent. I know that bikes are a little different but I think it would work well for MotoGP. Lets have a nice even playing field and let rider skill and engineering be the deciding factors.

  50. mark says:

    Minimum weights are used all over motorsport. I think it makes sense. It would do a little more to level the field. It would seem to make even more sense with the rider being a much higher percentage of the overall weight versus cars.