MotoGP has prohibited front ride height devices, effective in the 2023 season.
From 2023, the MotoGP World Championship will prohibit the usage of front ride-height devices. The Grand Prix Commission’s decision came just a fortnight after Ducati debuted such a device in competition, with the Qatar Grand Prix kicking off the 2022 season.
The prohibition does not apply to the rear ride height device or ‘holeshot’ functioning at either end of the bike at the start of a race.
The decision was decided during a meeting of the Grand Prix Commission on the Friday of the Indonesian Grand Prix weekend, which was just concluded. A prohibition appeared to be a near-certainty, with the question being whether it would take effect next year, as it will, or in 2024.
Only Ducati is known to feature a front ride-height device that can decrease with the rear on corner exit, with competitor manufacturers clearly stating their objections.
A statement from MotoGP read: “During the meeting of the Commission held in Lusail on 4 March 2022 the Grand Prix Commission delegates were asked to consider two alternative proposals on this (ride height devices) matter,’ read a statement from the Grand Prix Commission.”
“Both had the objective of preventing further performance improvements and development cost increases. After consideration of the proposals the following regulation was approved unanimously.”
“The use of any device that modifies or adjusts the motorcycle’s front ride height while it is moving is forbidden.”
“The decision of the Technical Director will be final when determining what constitutes a front ride height device; devices that only operate one-shot at the race start (i.e. “holeshot” devices) are allowed.”
By lowering the center of gravity and thus eliminating wheelies, ride height/holeshot devices allow for faster acceleration. On the straights, the lower frontal area also reduces drag.
Because electronic suspension is prohibited in MotoGP, both systems must rely only on mechanical and hydraulic components that are activated by the rider.
The repeatable ride-height devices are more intricate than the holeshot devices, which are enabled on the grid and subsequently disabled by braking forces at the first corner.
The most modern systems, pioneered by Ducati, are initiated by the rider pressing a button on the way into a corner, with the bike automatically lowering on the way out.
Both the holeshot and ride-height systems employ a lot of the same hardware, but because of the static nature of a race start, the bikes can be set lower than when the ride-height device is used at speed.