Timekeeping room: where times are measured down to the millisecond

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In a championship like MotoGP where the measurement of every single second or even every millisecond matters, each lap must be timed with utmost accuracy. This task is carried out in the timekeeping room which is managed by Jordi Sais. Jordi shares with us his team’s key responsibilities.

Timekeeping technician at the timekeeping room
Timekeeping room: where times are measured down to the millisecond

When a race ends in tie, how do you know which rider is the winner? #MtotoGP

What is this room like and what is its purpose?

The timekeeping room is a closed area that is usually located in the control tower and directly overlooks the finish line. Its main task is timekeeping, or in other words, recording the times of each rider at each checkpoint.

What types of people work in this room and what responsibilities does each one have?

There are timing officials, people who are knowledgeable about electronics and IT. They are familiar with soldering and are in general “race people” who know a lot about the sport, its rules, procedures, etc.

Marc Márquez cruzando la meta en Brno

We imagine that the array of technical resources needed for it all to be measured accurately and instantly must be quite extensive. What does it consist of?

It essentially consists of six tons of electronic and computer equipment, mainly computers, network electronics, and specific timekeeping devices: decoders, high precision timers, etc.

After each session, the Media Centre quickly receives a printout of the recorded times. Who ensures that they arrive?

A network connects the Media Centre to the timekeeping room. In this way, once the results have been verified by the timekeeping team, they are immediately sent to the Media Centre.


Técnicos de cronometraje

Earlier on we talked about current technology. How has the time recording system evolved? How were times recorded when this technology still wasn’t available?

Normally, each rider on the track had one timing official who would record his times.

Did two riders ever finish with the exact same time?

Yes. There have been ties have during practice sessions, but as of today, never for first place. In races, we have a digital camera that works like a scanner. It takes 10,000 images every second, and it’s the system used when there are close finishes.

But even then, in 2011 there was a tie for first place in the 125cc race between Héctor Faubel and Johann Zarco. Even the scanner image showed that the front tires of their motorcycles crossed the finish line at the same time. In this case, Héctor Faubel was declared the winner for having a better race lap than Zarco, as determined by the rules.

There was another tie in 2014 at the Mugello circuit. It was for second place between Isaac Viñales and Álex Rins. Viñales was declared the winner for having a better race lap.

Race direction room
Race direction room

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