During the winter break, the MotoGP regulations, the Grand Prix Commission, met to adapt certain rules for the 2022 Season and beyond. In addition to a multitude of confirmations and minor adjustments, there have been one or two minor but significant changes that have tightened important parts of the MotoGP rules.
First, the trifles. The changes in the age limits were confirmed before the transition to a minimum age of 18 in the three Grand Prix categories in 2023 and the qualification limit was strengthened from 107% to 105%. Given the competitiveness of the three classes and the narrowness of the fields, this will have very little impact, although it imposes higher requirements on replacement pilots.
To give an idea of what 105% represents, the average lap time for the vast majority of tracks is between 1’30 and 1’50, so the average lap is 1’40 or 100 seconds. Thus, the qualifying limit was lowered from 7 seconds behind the fastest driver to 5 seconds behind the fastest driver.
It’s been a very long time since someone broke the 107% rule and if the qualifying rule had been 105%, the last victim would have been the replacement driver Christophe Ponsson, who replaced Tito Rabat, wounds in Misano in 2018. In addition to the brakes, there is a general tightening of the rules, as the GPC is trying to fill in the gaps. From 2022, factories will have to attach 3D CAD drawings or samples of their aero packages to the technical director.
Until now, detailed drawings or samples were enough. 3D CAD drawings contain much more information than the dimensions of the aerodynamic wings and protrusions. This should allow Dorna’s technical staff to assess whether or not the materials bend under wind pressure, for example, a problem that once prevailed in Formula 1.
High-altitude flight devices are another Innovation in which technical controllers had to catch up. The GPC has also approved a new procedure to evaluate whether a safety device at height is lawful or not. While more and more manufacturers have fixed-height devices that work automatically at the exit of the curve, questions have been raised about what exactly is lawful and what is not. The new procedure aims to action attempts to circumvent the ban on devices that do not work only with the changing attitude of the bike as a trigger.
There is also an interesting entry in the Moto3 regulations. From 2022, the wiring harness, the fuel pump assembly and the pressure regulator will be called the power part. This means that they must be approved by the technical director and made available to all teams after approval. Although we cannot know for sure, it could be related to the remarkable speed of the Leopard Hondas. There were a lot of question marks about the origin of their top speed, both on the KTMs and on the other Honda Moto3 machines. This change could indicate where Leopard had found an advantage.