Unlike Formula 1 teams who enjoy being able to communicate with their drivers in the thick of a race (with some heated and sometimes hilarious responses from the drivers), MotoGP teams on the other have always tried to find ways to be able to better communicate with the riders.
Riders say they often miss the outboards as they concentrate on staying ahead of their rivals. And in Moto3 races where riders are often bunched up together and everyone is trying to get a tow in the slipstream, riders say it is difficult to read the plt board and stay focused at the same time.
Teams were previously given permission to place a system to tell the rider when he has been red or black-flagged, and it is already in place. But it is no secret that Race Directions and the teams want a more thorough system that lets them communicate with the rider rather than just inform him of the colour of the flag.
According to popular MotoGP website Moto Matters, they have apparently been given the go ahead. The spec ECU and the dashboard in use in MotoGP and in Moto3 is already capable in a mode called the ‘duplex mode’, where messages can be sent and received via timing loops around the track. This will allow Race Direction to send messages to one or more riders, but whether or not the rider sees the message, reads it and actually understands the message is a different thing altogether.
Apparently at the Sachsenring MotoGP race last year multiple riders missed their pit boards, therefore missed out on the perfect time to swap bikes from wet tyres to slick tyres. It was then that some riders shared some opinions on receiving messages from their team.
And so, at the recently concluded Dutch GP, the Grand Prix Commission had met to discuss some revisions to the MotoGP rules, including permitting the use of dashboard messages by the teams from 2018. The rules have been changed, and MotoGP as well as Moto3 teams will adopt the dashboard message system that lets teams and riders share more than just the colour of the flag. Moto2 will follow in 2019 when Triumph begins supplying engines and Magneti Marelli will supply the electronics. There will be no limitations or restrictions to the messages sent.
The following is the statement from the FIM:
Dashboard Displays and Messages: It has already been confirmed that machines in the Moto3 and MotoGP class must have the dashboard facility to display text messages, linked to the current warning lights, with effect from 2018. This will also apply to the Moto2 class from 2019. The GPC have now confirmed the precise list of messages that will be sent with the warning lights by Race Direction.
Some teams already have the facility on their machine dashboards to receive text messages and, following approval from the Safety Commission, the GPC confirmed that such teams may already use this facility as a “virtual pit board”. This does not require any amendments to existing regulations.