With 2020 acting as continuity over reformation following on from last year, a number of small but key adjustments will come in for the new MotoGP season. Here’s what to keep an eye out for in 2020.

Sporting and Technical rules:

Starting with the sporting side, MotoGP’s jump start penalty has been overhauled going from a pit lane ride through to two Long Lap penalties.

After the successful introduction of the Long Lap penalty last year, any riders jump starting across MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 will need to serve two Long Lap penalties within five laps of being notified of the penalty.

Each Long Lap penalty is considered to cost a rider between three and five seconds per lap, dependent on the circuit, meaning the total penalty will equate to between six and ten seconds which has been chosen as a fairer punishment for the crime.

The change was triggered after three high-profile jump start incidents, starting with Cal Crutchlow at the Argentina Grand Prix before both Maverick Vinales and Joan Mir fell foul of the same penalty at the Unites States round. Confusingly, Vinales took a Long Lap penalty for his jump start at Circuit of the Americas before riding through pit lane.

The use of the black and orange flag has also been altered, with any rider shown the flag needing official authorisation from a MotoGP technical steward to re-join the track.

A series of tweaks have been made to the technical regulations but the core elements remain unchanged given MotoGP is midway through the current tehcnical rules agreement which expires in 2021 when a new five-year plan will be formed starting from 2022.

The major change sees a tighter policing of the aerodynamic rules following the fallout between MotoGP manufacturers triggered by Ducati’s swingarm attachment.

The Aero Body rules, split into two areas last year, will see the Fairing, Front Fender and swingarm area come under one rule. With each rider permitted to only one change in Aero Body per season, it means any changes which are deemed to have an aerodynamic effect will be included.

While all current Aero Body designs used in 2019 will be permitted, the dimensions, angles and radius of aerodynamic devices have been tightened.

All Aero Body rules will apply for the entire MotoGP world championship with the exception of Phillip Island where for safety reasons teams will need to remove the side pods.

The use of metal studs in knee sliders has also been banned over safety concerns, while in Moto2 and Moto3 riders progressing from Qualifying 1 to Qualifying 2 will be given an additional front tyre having already received an extra rear tyre. The rule initially came in from the 2019 British GP.

In MotoGP, sole tyre supplier Michelin has introduced a new rear tyre construction from 2020. The new slick rear was rigorously tested by the MotoGP field throughout 2019 with the French tyre manufacturer giving the green light to the new compound earlier this month.

Circuits:

MotoGP has a brand new destination on the 2020 calendar as it returns to Finland following a 38-year absence. The newly-constructed KymiRing will boast the longest straight of almost 1.2km with the aim of combining super-fast straights with tight and twisty sections. MotoGP sent six manufacturer test teams to trial the new Finnish circuit last August.

Elsewhere on the MotoGP calendar, minor tweaks have been introduced. The Thailand Grand Prix has been moved from the back-end of the season to the beginning as Buriram gets set to host the second round in 2020 after the Qatar Grand Prix opener.

The Argentine and Americas Grands Prix and German and Dutch Grands Prix have swapped places too.

With an expanding race calendar, scheduled test events have subsequently been trimmed to offset the workload on riders and teams. The post-season Valencia test has been scrapped for 2020 along with the March 2021 Qatar test.

A one-off two-day Michelin tyre test, involving test teams only, will also take place at KymiRing on June 15-16 2020.

New riders:

Three rookies will feature on this year’s MotoGP grid: Alex Marquez at Repsol Honda, Brad Binder at Red Bull KTM and Iker Lecuona at Red Bull KTM Tech 3.

Johann Zarco, who split with KTM midway through last season, has moved to Avintia Ducati at the expense of Karel Abraham. With Binder taking up Zarco’s vacated spot at the factory KTM team, Lecuona has replaced Hafizh Syahrin at Tech3. Marquez steps in for Jorge Lorenzo at the world champions following the Spaniard’s dramatic retirement at the end of 2019.

 

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