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MotoGP Rider Tire Choice More Transparent Next Year

Currently, markings on the side of MotoGP tires are the only indication to observers outside the particular rider’s paddock of the tire choice made by that rider. Quite often, as you may observe if you watch race broadcasts, it is difficult to tell which tire, in fact, has been chosen. That difficulty will disappear next year pursuant to a new rule announced by the Grand Prix Commission, the rule-making body for MotoGP, which will be implemented in cooperation with the MotoGP tire manufacturer Michelin.

Beginning with the 2017 MotoGP season, each Michelin tire shall contain an embedded device that will allow wireless detection of the tire type. The information will be read by the ECU of the bike, which will report the tire choice for that bike in real time, and be immediately available to the media, competitive teams, and fans in attendance (provided the information is posted on boards by the track organizers).

This increased transparency will clearly impact strategy in that competitive teams are frequently unaware of tires being tested during practice sessions by adversaries. Now, competitive teams can watch adversaries process through testing of available tires for an event, and even correlate lap times with those tires.

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  1. grumpy farmer says:

    What’s next? An embedded device to monitor scphincter pressure on corner entry?

  2. marloweluke says:

    Often the tire choice is not known because they change tires on pit lane with tire warmers already in place. So in tricky variable conditions no one is really sure what tires someone is running until the warmers come off before the warm up lap. This techie solution eliminates that, however it may not if the other removed type of tire is in the vicinity of the ECU. I hope they keep the color coding in place also.

  3. Tom R says:

    Many sports fans (of all kinds) today and-in the future-spend a lot of time looking at their phones. Notice the crowd shots at Sunday NFL games in which people are often looking at their phones/devices instead of the field, reviewing a replay or accessing constantly updated stats, or even viewing other games, AND the revenue-generating advertising that appears with it.

    This type of “fan experience” may be even more desirable at Moto GP races since people attending can only see a portion of the event instead of a football or baseball game where the entire field of play is right in front of everyone. I think MotoGP is following the same trend as other sports.

  4. MGNorge says:

    I think they’ve missed the boat, what’s really needed are a BMEP sensor in the combustion chamber and a probe stuck right in the riders stomach to measure how much Post Toasties were consumed that morning.

    I side with just allowing the riders and teams to race. That’s what competition is all about.

  5. WJF says:

    wireless detection? I wonder if any other parameters can/will be transmitted along with the type of tire; flex, pressure, temperature, etc.

  6. GKS says:

    Why all the high-tech devices to tell us what tires are being used? How about colored tire sidewalls as used in Formula 1? No telemetry or sign boards required, just an easy visual indication for everyone to see.

    • EGS says:

      I had the same thought. During the race you could easily see how the Reds (soft) were doing vs. the Yellows (med) or Blue (hard). Also eliminates the dependency on the broadcaster to show or announce that information – just watch and enjoy!

    • Tom R says:

      They are probably using the technology only because they can. Like many techie “solutions”, there is often a much simpler way to do the same thing.

  7. Jeremy in TX says:

    As a race fan, I like to know what they are riding on . And it’s not like it was a secret before. It was just harder to tell.

  8. rapier says:

    Why? Can’t any area of gamesmanship remain? That said and out of left field, tires are too important in Moto GP. I think less power and less speed via less displacement would be all to the good and might reduce the importance of tires and put more on the riders who end up spending too much effort in managing their tires, instead of racing their opponents.

    • mickey says:

      they tried that with the change to the 800cc bikes a few years ago and the riders ended up going faster

    • EGS says:

      Go back to the formula of 125 / 250 / 500cc engines with NO restrictions on development and NO electronic rider aids. What’s old is new again.

      • Dave says:

        We don’t even need to go back to 2-strokes. Moto 2 shows how successful “low-tech” racing can be. Removing traction aids on the big bikes would be a very interesting exercise, but I don’t see it changing much on the results sheet.

        Hopefully we get more like we did this season. A greater variety of riders and teams managed to accomplish wins than in any season I can remember.

        As for the tire choices? I say, “who cares?”. Riders should be able to keep that secret from their competitors if they want to and we don’t need to know. It’s not even discussed in the other classes.

        I’d be more interested in knowing the *real* differences between the Factory and Satellite bikes.

      • Scott says:

        “…NO restrictions on development and NO electronic rider aids…”

        Isn’t that just a little bit contradictory?

        • Dave says:

          Even without the contradiction it’s a firm “no”. Been there, done that. It nearly killed the sport completely.

    • Aussie M says:

      “put more on the riders who end up spending too much effort in managing their tires, instead of racing their opponents.”

      I agree. I want to see the riders going flat out for the entire race instead of backing off to conserve tires. Another solution would be to use harder more durable tires. It would mean lower corner speeds but who cares. It should be all about the riders battling their hardest. More durable tires would probably make the bikes slide around more, and that would be great for the spectacle.

      • todd says:

        Tires that last longer aren’t necessarily more durable or less grippy. They just happen to have thicker tread.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Whether tires are more durable or not, the result is the same. They’ll fade over the course of the race. Riders that currently choose the harder option tires are backing off at the beginning of the race while they wait for the tires to heat up. I think that tire choice and management is an interesting part of the race.

        • Aussie M says:

          “Riders that currently choose the harder option tires are backing off at the beginning of the race while they wait for the tires to heat up.”

          The riders on hard tyres are not backing off early in the race. They are riding at the limit of what the tyres have to offer. The harder tyres are more consistent throughout the race. The soft tyres have a lot more grip but lose it towards the end of the race, especially if the rider has pushed them to the limit early in the race.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            They are always riding at the limit of the tires no matter what. We all know they are not backing off in the literal sense. We just mean that the threshold of traction is not at 100%.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “We all know they are not backing off in the literal sense.”

            no you’re right, they ARE backing off. you have to. it’s either that or find yourself upside down in the gravel with gas pouring out the tank. Iannone knows what i’m talking about (Willis).

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