Aerodynamics has been a recurring topic over the past few seasons, largely due to the fairing extensions applied in 2016 and the solutions that have gradually been implemented in 2017 and 2018 as a result.
Although the teams are allowed to add a fairing enhancement of the kind used on the front mudguard, it is not allowed to be modified by removing or adding elements, such as the aerodynamic additions we see on some fairing today. In other words, if a team makes additions to their bikes, they will not be allowed to remove them or change them from one race to another once they have been approved.
Aerodynamic additions will be monitored more strictly and the size limits these elements are based on will be supervised more thoroughly. To ensure compliance with size standards, a metal structure similar to those used at airports for measuring hand luggage will be available. The structure should go smoothly over the front of the bike without any impediments. Any parts that exceed the limits will not fit and will not be considered as compliant with regulations.
Bearing these changes in mind, the teams will probably want to get their parts approved as early as possible so they can start using them.
Standard IMU and changes in CAN-bus protocols
Spectators will not notice this change because it affects the bike’s electronics.
Modifications will be applied to two elements: the CAN-bus, which takes care of communication among the bike’s various electronic components, and the IMU (Inertial Measuring Unit), a control unit that measures the bike’s movement and acceleration to ensure the electronics are always working properly.
Regarding the changes affecting the CAN, they will clarify and restrict communication protocols among the bike’s various sensors and control units, and the information those sensors share with the rest of the system.
This communication network currently works with four lines: one used by Dorna to process the data we see during live streaming, another used by the teams to process data from the sensors, and another two that are used to send data from the IMU, one of which is the main line and the other is a backup in case the main line fails. It is these lines that will be affected by the changes.
As for the IMU, Dorna will be supplying a standard model for all of the teams, just as it does currently with the bike’s control unit or ECU. This change will mean more even conditions for the teams and will help keep hardware and software costs down.
This way, the teams will be more equal and costs will be contained compared to the flexible options they have today.