MotoGP: Minimum Grand Prix age limit to be raised to 18 from 2023

The MotoGP paddock pay their respects to Jason Dupasquier at Mugello
The MotoGP paddock pay their respects to Jason Dupasquier at Mugello

The FIM and Dorna have confirmed that the minimum age limit in Grand Prix motorcycle racing will be raised from 16 to 18 in 2023.

Age limits was just one of several topics discussed at a meeting of the Permanent Bureau, which comprises Dorna and the FIM, at Misano on Friday. It comes following the deaths of three teenagers in FIM sanctioned race meetings this year.

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In May 19-year-old Moto3 rider Jason Dupasquier died at Mugello following an incident in qualifying. Dupasquier fell at Arrabbiata 2, with Tech3 KTM rider Ayumu Sasaki unable to do anything to avoid him.

Two months later, 14-year-old Hugo Millan suffered fatal injuries in a European Talent Cup race at Aragon. Like Dupasquier, Millan was struck by another rider after initially being involved in a multi-rider crash at turn five. Last month, 15-year-old Dean Berta Vinales succumbed to injuries sustained in a multi-rider accident in the WorldSSP 300 race at Jerez.

With regards to age limits, the following will come into force in 2022:

  • Talent Cups around the world will raise the minimum age to 13.
  • The minimum age in the Red Bull Rookies Cup will be raised to 14.
  • In the Moto3 Junior World Championship will be raised from 14 to 15.
  • In WorldSSP 300 the minimum age will change from 15 to 16.

The only exception to these new age limits will be for riders who are already competing in the respective category this season. Further changes will then be made in 2023:

  • A minimum age of 14 will be applied to all racing at any Grand Prix-type circuits – including all those which have or have had Grade A, B or C homologation. This will include the Asia, British, European and Northern Talent Cups.
  • The minimum age in all three MotoGP classes will be raised to 18.
  • The Moto3 Junior World Championship and Moto3 European Championship will have a minimum age limit of 16.
  • The Red Bull Rookies Cup limit will increase from 14 to 15.
  • In WorldSSP300 the limit will increase again to 18.

The winner of the Moto3 Junior World Championship and/or Red Bull Rookies Cup will be allowed to join Moto3 at the age of 17. For the 2023 season only, the exception will remain that those who competed in Moto3 in 2022 will be able to stay in the class. This also applies in the Talent Cups.

Following the three tragedies in 2021, calls were also being made for the size of the grids to be reduced in order to try and lower the risk of a fallen rider being struck by those behind them. From 2022:

  • A maximum of 32 riders will be permitted each race in the Moto3 Junior World Championship and WorldSSP300.
  • A maximum of 30 riders will be allowed on the grid in the Talent Cups.

Rider equipment measures have also been revealed. From 2022, airbags will be compulsory in all Sprint Circuit Racing FIM championships, whilst in the FIM Sidecar World Championship, tests are now underway to determine whether the known algorithms are valid for the passengers. These tests will make it possible to know whether the airbag can be used by all participants in 2022.

“Rider safety equipment has improved significantly throughout the decades and continues to do so thanks to improvements across the industry, from leathers, gloves, back and chest protectors and boots to FIM homologated helmets and innovative airbag systems,” today’s statement said. “It has never been safer to ride a motorcycle at speed and these improvements help to protect a rider from injury, in many instances helping to save lives whilst not compromising rideability, which is also intrinsic to on-track safety.

“A first meeting took place at the Aragon GP between all partners, including leather and helmet suppliers, technical staff and medical personnel, on the next step towards improving the level of protection afforded by rider equipment, with increased focus on protecting competitors against an impact from another rider or motorcycle, particularly the chest and neck.

“All parties are committed to making improvements in these areas and meeting this challenge as safely and as quickly as possible whilst ensuring the high level of current protection is not compromised.”

Rider communication has also been looked at, with the FIM and Dorna looking to add to their current dashboard technology, light panels and instant communication channels between marshal points and race direction.

The next step in this sector will be to communicate to a rider or bike that a crash has just taken place as soon as possible.

“A first meeting between all partners and technical suppliers has already taken place in order to discuss the installation and implementation of the required technology in rider equipment, on motorcycles and/or around each circuit, the aim of which is to implement automatic, near-instant warning systems for all following riders/motorcycles.

“The first tests will start as soon as the beginning of the 2022 season, and the system must and will be applicable to Championships of all levels, including Talent Cups.”