The end of FP2 at Silverstone on Friday saw MotoGP riders asked to test a revised bike-swap system, to improve safety during flag-to-flag races.

The new system involves markers to signal where each rider needs to turn into their pit area, a revised bike position and angle (which effectively means no jumping directly from one bike to another), plus a lollipop man to signal when it is safe to leave.

This is what some of the riders had to say, prior to an official discussion behind closed doors in the Safety Commission…


Bradley Smith: "I think it's not a bad idea. Just basically making a rule of where to turn, that should have always been part of the system. When is the right moment to actually turn to the inside of the pit lane. Because some guys were going really close to the other bikes, some guys staying close to the pit wall and the lollipop system I don't think is a bad idea.

"There's always a short hesitation, but this hesitation is also for the rider. They have some time to look to the left and then accelerate in the right way. When you put [the decision of when to leave] in the hands of the riders, we've had incidents. The mechanic has more time to look than the rider does. The rider is concetrating on what he's doing. The lollipop man is just looking at who is coming down the pit lane. The rider jumps on, find the clutch, finds the gears, throttle and getting ready to pull away [at the same time]. But the sole job of the lollipop guy is just to look and say when to go.

"I think this is the safest option we’ve had so far."

Will there be a penalty for trying to leave before the lollipop says 'go'?

"When we actually finalise the system and the protocol, then we'll ask those type of questions and set those rules in place."

Valentino Rossi: "For me, I'm curious to speak with the other riders in the Safety Commission and understand their ideas. It's possible that we can use this, it has something good and something bad compared to the old system. I think more or less we are there, I'm happy with both.

"But if this rule was made to fix the problem of the incident between Iannone and Espargaro, for me it won't fix anything, because it doesn't change anything, we don't see the other bike anyway. We will speak later. It's a procedure we can use, but it doesn't fix the problem."

Cal Crutchlow: " A waste of time. Like I said before: if you crash in the pitlane on a flag-to-flag race then as far as I’m concerned it’s your own fault. When Iannone crashed it was not because of Aleix; you just have to open your eyes. If I crash in pitlane it is my own fault and I didn't see anything wrong with it before.

"All this stuff - changing the guys and the angles - works perfectly here, but when you come to a pitlane like Phillip Island people will be cleaned out in the garages. We don't have much steering lock I can tell you that.

"It might help if I manage to put it in gear because I forgot! That's twice in two weeks I’ve done that. I nearly dropped the thing in Brno. We used to be able to have the bike in gear with the mechanic and now we are not."

Andrea Dovizioso: "It is impossible to find the perfect rules, because in any decision there is positive and negative. Today it was good to test [the new system], get experience and now in the Safety Commission we are able to speak about that. For example, not a lot of riders [came in together], so it was easier about that.

"I think it was quite good, in the way you have to enter, jump on the bike and exit. I think it was safer. But for example, now we are going towards the [inside of the] box and I don’t think that part is safer.

"Because most of the time when you make flag-to-flag, you start on a slick tyre and it starts to rain and you have to change. So you enter the box, the asphalt is wet, you have the slick with carbon brakes and you have to stop and now you going into the box.

"That is not safer. In any case I think it's difficult to find a really safe way to make a flag-to-flag. But we need to find the best solution and now we are working on that.

"I agree [with having the lollipop man] because firstly, the riders can't see good like the lollipop man. Second, in that moment the riders are not thinking a lot! Some can be more crazy… I think it's good to have the lollipop, like with the cars. That guy has a clear vision and I think it's much better, safer and you don’t lose so much."

Maverick Vinales: "I like. Honestly when I tried it I felt comfortable. You have to wait for your mechanic to tell you that you can go. Anyway, I think it was more safe for sure. You have more space."

Dani Pedrosa: "For me it was not different to the style I was using because the angle of the bike is much closer. I was not looking so much and checking my mechanic. For me what is not good is the little stickers on the floor [marking each pit box], because it is very difficult to see which one is yours and difficult to remember if you go after or before.

"You have to be looking at the floor when you should be looking at your mechanic. You need to look down and then quickly up and find your mechanic. In this scenario Marc and I go in the same gate and the colours are the same. It is a little bit confusing. The bike angle and the crossing is not so different to what it was before."

Marc Marquez: "About the bike-swap I cannot say because I didn't try [second bike damaged in a fall]! The other riders have to give their comments."

Scott Redding: "It's hard to say, in practice it's one thing, no-one is in a hurry, no-one is winning a race, so everything ran smoothly. But I think in race conditions when there is more pressure, it could get a bit messy. There's not really much room for a mistake, and there are split-second decisions to be made in such a short period of time.

"It's a lot of responsibility for the mechanic, for the lollipop guy. At the end, does he be too patient and wait, cost you three positions in the race, or does he take the risk and go? That's a bit the problem. But if you come in and you're top three in the race, and the mechanic is too late, it could be difficult."


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