From the 2017 season, MotoGP mechanics will be required to wear approved helmets during mid-race 'flag-to-flag' bike changes.

The use of helmets follows a scary incident for Alvaro Bautista in Argentina (see video below).

A further safety move will see a maximum of four mechanics allowed to assist each rider during the bike change.

The Grand Prix Commission also confirmed that mechanics will be able to continue holding the clutch lever in, "to avoid the possibility of accidental engagement of a gear during the machine change...

"However, actual selection of the gear can only be made by the rider. Breach of this regulation, which can be determined from ECU data, will result in automatic disqualification."

Questions were raised about one of Marc Marquez's Repsol Honda mechanics holding his clutch lever at the Sachsenring, but checks by Race Direction proved the Spaniard had put the bike into gear himself - as required by the rules.

Race Director Mike Webb had considered banning mechanics from holding the clutch lever, to make visibly clear when the bike is in neutral, but the safety angle means it will continue to be allowed.

While the helmet and four mechanic limit starts from 2017, Webb confirmed to that the regulation requiring gear selection by the rider remains in effect for this season as well.

By Peter McLaren


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