MotoGP False Start Regulation Improved

Posted on 4 Mar, 2015 by Scott Jones
Jorge Lorenzo false start CotA 2014 Yamaha

After my Trackside Tuesday article over at Asphalt & Rubber the other day, I have continued to peruse the 2015 MotoGP Regulations with great interest.

Another updated regulation I’ve noticed rang a bell and reminded me of many of the older races I’ve enjoyed watching on

In the ‘old’ days, the start of a 500cc race was remarkably different from what we’ve grown accustomed to in the modern era. Riders were often moving forward before the official start of the race with no penalty or even comments from the announcers. That was simply the way a motorcycle race began.

At some point the riders were required to keep perfectly still until the lights went out. Lorenzo’s Mother of All False Starts in Austin last season (shown above) was not the typical mistake that riders are penalized for with a ride through. Usually a slight motion when the red lights were on was all that was needed to end a rider’s hopes of a good result.

However, again in section 1.18 Start Procedure, we find some new language, shown in bold:


A red light will be displayed for between 2 and 5 seconds. The red light will go out to start the race.

A safety car will follow behind the motorcycles for the whole of the first lap. The safety car will overtake slow riders.

If the red lights’ device is fed by normal power (electricity) supply, it must also be connected to a set of car batteries or to an U.P.S. (Uninterruptible Power System) to provide power to the starting lights’ device if the electric line breaks down just at the moment of the start.

Any rider who anticipates the start will be required to carry out the ride through described under article 1.19.

The motorcycle must be stationary at the time the red lights are turned off. Anticipation of the start is defined by the motorcycle moving forward at the time the red lights are turned off.

In the case of a minor movement and subsequent stop whilst the red lights are on, Race Direction will be the sole judge of whether an advantage has been gained.

Race Direction will decide if a penalty will be imposed for taking advantage by anticipating the start and must communicate the penalty to the rider before the end of the fourth lap.


This is a great change to the regulations because it will remove the instances of a slight mistake in a very tense situation ruining a rider’s race. As long as the rider is able to stop forward progress before the lights go off, he should be able to continue without a penalty.

It seems to me that this will be a fairly easy determination for Race Direction when having to decide if an advantage was gained. I also like the 4-lap rule, giving a statue of limitations as it were on a possible infraction.

Among the frequent comments I hear about MotoGP being slowly ruined, this is a positive refinement of the regulations that will make the racing better. Hear hear, Grand Prix Commission.

Photograph: ©2014 by Scott Jones / PHOTO.GP – All Rights Reserved

Camera Info: Nikon D4 with Nikon 500mm f/4.0

[mgallery keyword=”CotA”]
MotoGP False Start Regulation Improved



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