Fabio Quartararo trials new MotoGP rider communication system

A new Race Direction-to-rider communication system was trialled at the post-Spanish MotoGP test at the Jerez circuit by Fabio Quartararo.

Fabio Quartararo, 2023 MotoGP Spanish Grand Prix. - Gold and Goose

After the MotoGP race in Spain last weekend, the whole paddock stayed in Andalucia for testing, and for some MotoGP riders that meant trying out a new communication system.

Fabio Quartararo was among the MotoGP riders who tried the new system, which is intended to be used only for communication from Race Direction to the riders to inform them of red flags or specific on-track hazards such as bikes lying in the middle of the track, for example.

Currently, the idea is is that riders would not be able to communicate to Race Direction, and that the communication would not be opened up to the teams.

Explaining the process of testing the device, Crash.net reports Quartararo said that “It was 3 laps of hearing ‘red flag, red flag, red flag!’ I think if they are able to use it the right way, it can be good. Can be safe. But I think we don't need to have a lot of people talking into this.”

Quartararo felt the communication should only be used when absolutely necessary from a safety standpoint. “It must really be only for an emergency,” Quartararo said, “because it was difficult when you are riding and you hear something [in your ear]. But if for safety we can use it, especially for red flags or bikes in the middle of the track, I think it can be helpful.”

Currently, Race Direction are able to communicate with riders to notify them of penalties or red flags, for example, via messages sent to the motorcycle’s dashboard. However, Quartararo pointed out that the current system has its flaws. “The dashboard you never look at,” he said. “Even when you shift the gears now, I was not even looking at the lights because you know when you have to change. And especially on small tracks like this, to read what is on the dashboard is difficult.”

As with anything added to the riders' equipment, the device must be both safe and comfortable. On the second part, comfort, Quartararo believes there is work to be done. “It was really small. It was [behind the ear]… But it was uncomfortable,” Quartararo said. “I had to put the earphone, then put the [head] band to keep it stable. So it was just a prototype and I think it was good for the first time we tried it.”

The overall conclusion from Quartararo, though, was positive, as long as it remained only used in emergencies and communication via radio was not opened to allow communication between teams and riders. “So I think it's good to have this [radio option],” Quartararo said. “But only in really important cases like a red flag, oil on the track, something about danger. But no team talk.”

Quartararo’s Jerez test, coming after a weekend in which the Frenchman received a double-long-lap penalty and finished the Spanish Grand Prix in 10th place, concluded with the Yamaha rider in third place behind the two VR46 Ducati riders of Marco Bezzecchi (1st) and Luca Marini (2nd).

Round five of the 2023 MotoGP World Championship is next up on the calendar, as Le Mans hosts the French Grand Prix on 12-14 May.

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