A former professional Grand Prix motorcycle road racer and British champion, Keith Huewen has been commentating motorised sports ever since he retired from the paddock. Currently, he is a commentator for BT Sport.
Here, Keith Huewen talks about safety in Moto GP and explains the different flags and the penalties. For his expert view on more specific aspects of Moto GP racing, have a look at:
What is the role of the safety car in Moto GP?
“BMW is the official provider of safety and medic cars. These vehicles are present during the warm-up lap as a sweeper and fast response unit in order to make sure everything goes well. However, riders do not follow the safety cars around in MotoGP like in F1 or British Superbikes. We also have helicopters and ambulances on site to react quickly and adequately to any accidents.”
What safety equipment exists in Moto GP?
“Bikes aren’t particularly safe and, apart from an engine cut-off, do not have any rider safety systems on board. The safety systems that we do have are mostly built in to racer equipment – helmets, leathers, boots and gloves. These have become quite advanced. Airbags installed in a rider’s suit protect bones from breaking and ligaments from getting stretched. Knee and elbow sliders are also there for touching the tarmac for extra ‘feel’ and recovery – if you lose the front end of the bike and lose grip you can pick it up with your knee or your elbow.”
- Compilation of Moto GP crashes
What is the best way to overtake in Moto GP?
“Keep the power on! Sometimes there’s an opportunity to get in front of a rider who is changing direction. At over 200mph, the rider in front is punching such a hole in the air it’s going to drag you past if you enter the vacuum behind him at the right time. The slipstream effect. The most important thing is that you have to get on the brakes in the right place. There’s not a lot of a space on the track when you are committed to a manoeuvre. On the very edge of limited grip, it’s a hard thing to do. You also have to have transferred your body weight to the right place when braking, because if not, you will be thrown to the floor.”
Which flags are used in Moto GP?
“Red lights [going out] start the race. The main yellow flags tell the riders to be aware. Waving a yellow flag urges the riders to prepare to stop. A green flag means that the sector is clear, whilst a blue one means that something is coming up from behind. The rider has to get out of the way quickly – similarly to Formula One. The dashboard has the flag lights on it, so racers know what’s going on. A white flag with a red cross on it means that it’s raining in that sector. This warns racers that they will be going from dry to wet surface. Under Flag to Flag rules, a rider can make a pit stop to change bikes if it rains. A white flag at the start line signifies that the window to change the bike is open. Yellow flags with horizontal red markings suggest a very slippery track. A black flag with an orange circle indicates a mechanical problem. A black flag with a number (pictured below) means that the corresponding rider is out of the race.
“The chequered flag is obviously the one everyone wants to see first, denoting the finish of the race.”
Moto GP penalties
What penalties exist in Moto GP?
“Using too much of the track during the qualifying stages could cost you grid places. When a rider uses out of bounds parts of the track whilst overtaking, it could result in him having to give up his position. Valentino Rossi’s unsavoury hand signal towards Aleix Espargaro wasn’t in the rule book, but has been added now and will result in a €300 fine. Not that he would care, of course. Speeding in the pit lane is subject to another fine – it’s an important safety issue. Infringing a technical penalty will get you disqualified. Last year, a team was underweight – remember that Moto3 combines bike and rider weight. They knew it and their mechanic chucked lead onto the bike whenever they were getting weighed. That was a funny episode. There’s a full book of penalties and you can have a look on the official site too.”
Moto GP betting
Moto GP is not only an extremely exciting sport to watch, but also to bet on. Fans can choose from a number of betting options, both on the Championship and the individual Grand Prix races.
Just like Moto GP and any other sport, betting has its rules, designed for maximum playing pleasure and fair play. Here, you can see how we make betting on sports fun, fair and easy for everyone.