MotoGP Electronics Regulations

Posted on 5 Mar, 2015 by Scott Jones
MotoGP ECU software regulations

After my previous regulation-related posts (Pit Lane Procedure changes and False Start Rule Changes ), I continue to look through the latest edition of the regulations:

One of the biggest changes coming to MotoGP relates to the limits placed on ECUs (Electronic Control Units) and the software that is used to manage their effects on motorcycles.

This topic and its many related details are often mentioned in discussions of how this or that factory will approach the new rules. But what, specifically, are those rules? Of course they are spelled out in in the Regulations, and I thought others might find it interesting to read exactly what the Software Development rules are for 2015 and beyond. To be perfectly honest, much of what is written below is beyond my understanding of how it will affect racing in the coming season. I rely on David Emmett and Kevin Cameron to explain such things to my tired, limited mind. But as discussions of the rules below continue to surface, I think it will be useful to have the rules themselves available to consult.

The text below is taken from Section Electronics of the official MotoGP Regulations, and Item 6 reads:

6. Official Software Development

A single official MotoGP ECU software for engine and chassis control will be implemented from the 2016 season. This will be based on the official software used in the Open category in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Motorcycle Manufacturers participating in the MotoGP class (Factory Option) in 2015 are invited to work in conjunction with the Organisers and the official ECU supplier on development of this official software, with the following conditions:

  1. Such manufacturers must agree to stop development of their own MotoGP class software by 30 June 2015 (‘software freeze’). From 1 July 2015, software development will be focused on the official software.
  2. If a manufacturer chooses not to stop their own software development by 30 June 2015, they will not be permitted to participate in the official software development program until such time as they agree to stop their own development.
  3. The following exemptions to the software freeze are permitted, only with the unanimous prior agreement of the manufacturers participating as Factory Option in 2014:

    1. For safety reasons, updates to a manufacturer’s own software is permitted after 30 June 2015 in order to fix bugs or errors. In order to verify that only bug-fixing is carried out, before using any such modified software the manufacturer must first apply to the Technical Director and deliver to him detailed documentation including the reason for the changes, the memory locations involved, logic of the changes, and effect of the changes.
    2. Manufacturers new to the MotoGP class in 2015 who were not participating as contracted entries in 2014, may continue to develop their own software until the end of the 2015 season. With the express consent of the 2014 Factory Option manufacturers, such new manufacturers may also participate in the official 2016 software development.

  4. In order to enforce the software freeze from 1 July 2015, the manufacturers wishing to participate in the official 2016 software development must provide a sample of all versions of their frozen software to the Technical Director as follows:

    • For Factory Option entries, at the first race after 1 July 2015 (ie. the German GP), each team must compete in the race using only that team’s single and final frozen version of their manufacturer’s software.
    • The ECU will be removed from one Factory Option machine of each team at the conclusion of the race in secure conditions supervised by the Technical Director in Parc Ferme. This ECU will be sealed and kept as the sample frozen software for that team. The Organiser will not compensate the team with the supply of another ECU free of charge.
    • If a manufacturer declares to the Technical Director that all of their Factory Option teams are using the same software version, the Technical Director may choose to take only one sample ECU for that manufacturer.
    • The sample ECUs will remain in the possession of the Organisers until the expiry of the protest time after the last race of the season, and then returned to the relevant team.
    • In case of a protest or at the request of the Technical Director, any ECU from a Factory Option entry may be removed and the software version compared with that of the sample ECU from the same team. Any differences in software that are not due solely to bug-fixing previously declared to the Technical Director, will be considered an infringement of the software freeze.

Note that the principles of the 2016 MotoGP electronics regulations have been agreed by the Grand Prix Commission and the MSMA. These regulations will include:

  • A single official MotoGP ECU software for engine and chassis control will be mandatory on all machines.
  • The official MotoGP ECU hardware described in Art. will be mandatory on all machines.
  • All sensors and acquisition devices connected to the ECU must be homologated (ie. supplier, price and availability is the same for all MotoGP teams), with the following exceptions:

    1. Non-homologated sensors are permitted for testing and for free practice sessions at events. Only homologated sensors may be used for Qualifying and Race.
    2. Each manufacturer may nominate one Additional Sensor which may or may not be available to all MotoGP teams. This nominated sensor is permitted during all sessions including Qualifying and Race. The sensor must be connected to the ECU such that it’s [sic] signal is available only for the internal datalogger, and not for engine or chassis management software strategies. The connection to the ECU must be verifiable (ie. separate and identifiable from other connections) as approved by the Technical Director.

  • Apart from homologated sensors, there will be a list of Free Devices which are the only other devices allowed to communicate via CAN BUS with the ECU. Free Devices will include:

    • All actuators, such as fuel injectors, ignition coils, electric motors, actuation coils, fuel pumps.
    • Alternator and related Regulator/Powerbox (CAN protocol homologated by the Organiser).
    • Dashboard and message display devices (CAN protocol is unidirectional from ECU to device, homologated by the Organiser).
    • Inertial Platforms (up to 2 IPs are permitted, CAN protocol homologated by the Organiser).
    • Wiring Harness.
    • Any device specifically allowed by the Organiser.

  • If a proprietary device is allowed by the organiser (eg. calibration tool, external datalogger), all CAN protocols will be homologated by the Organiser. Any costs incurred by the manufacturer or official ECU supplier in enabling such communication and implementation, and any performance risks associated with such devices, will be borne by the manufacturer.
  • Free Devices are free from homologation, but are subject to disclosure and checking by another manufacturer as follows:

    • A manufacturer (“checker”) may request to check a free device from a specific machine of another manufacturer (“owner”). The device will beremoved by the Technical Director after the event and given to the checker.
    • The checker has 7 days to check the device, and a representative from the owner is entitled to be present during such checking if requested by the owner.
    • The details of the checking process and the results of the checking will be reported to the MSMA MotoGP members, and if necessary to the Technical Director.
    • If necessary, a checker may be required to refund the owner for any component damage or loss.
    • No manufacturer will be required to undergo more than 5 device checks per season, whether the same component or different components are involved (the wiring harness is considered to be a single component).

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

Camera Info: Nikon D4 with Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8

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MotoGP Electronics Regulations



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