MotoGP™ Basics

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The sport of MotoGP™ has its own unique language, utilising certain pieces of terminology shared with other motorsports and some specific phrases belonging to the world of motorcycle racing. Here, guides you through some of the words and phrases commonly used in MotoGP.


The tightest point on a corner, which the rider usually rides through just before he begins to exit, accelerating away.

Braking Marker

A physical point which a rider uses to judge where he should start braking as he enters a corner. This could be a tree, advertising board, a mark on the track or any other distinguishing feature which the rider uses to guide his braking pattern.


A section of track with two corners in close succession in opposite directions. A left-hander followed by a right-hander or vice versa, which looks like an ‘S’ from a bird’s eye view.


The type of rubber / mixture of rubber used in tyres.


Claiming Rules Team. From 2012, teams not entered by one of the major manufacturers may seek CRT status. Teams entered as CRT will benefit from less restrictive rules on the number of engines that may be used in a season, and the fuel allowance during a race is larger. Under the "Claiming Rule", teams operating under CRT status agree to allow up to four of their engines per season to be claimed, after a race, by one of the major manufacturer teams at a cost of €20,000 each including transmission, or €15,000 each for the engine alone.


Mainly painted in two colours and often featuring prominently on, or just after corners, the curbstones mark the sides of the race track and help to guide the riders.


The capacity or size of a bike’s engine, usually quoted in cubic centimetres (cc), for example 1000cc, 600cc or 250cc.

Dry Race

A race in which the track surface is considered to be dry by Race Direction, as opposed to wet. In a dry race teams will run slick tyres on their bikes. See Key Rules section for more details.


Dorna Sports is the company which administrates MotoGP. See Governing Bodies section for more details.

Dirt tracking

Over the years several MotoGP™ riders from the USA, including 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden, have had their racing background in regional and national dirt track championships. The racing takes place on a muddy surface as opposed to asphalt.


A trick which involves stopping a bike suddenly to lift the rear wheel off the ground. The opposite of a wheelie, it is sometimes also called a Stoppie.


A colloquial, phonetic reference to a chicane, owing to their often ‘S’ shaped appearances.


An outer body part of a racing bike that protects both the machinery and the rider from debris and gusts of wind. Fairings are decorated with team colours, sponsor logos and race numbers.


The Fédération Internationale de Motorcyclisme is the governing body of all motorcycle sport throughout the world. See Governing Bodies section for more details.


Throttle or acceleration. It is common to hear riders say ‘I opened the gas’, or ‘I gave it some gas’.

GP (Grand Prix)

A racing event which lasts three days, involving the three MotoGP™ classes, MotoGP™, Moto2™ and Moto3. Grand Prix weekends consist of two days of practice and qualifying, followed by the warm-ups and races in each class on the final day. There are currently 18 Grand Prix on the MotoGP™ calendar.


The collection of starting points on the start/finish straight on the track, where the riders gather at the beginning of each race, lining up in the positions in which they have qualified to start.


A very tight corner which has to be taken slowly and often appears U-shaped or V-shaped.

High Side

A crash in which the rear wheel of the bike slides out from under the rider - so that he is essentially at a right angle to his racing line (the direction in which he was going) - and then regains grip, which flips the bike and rider over.


Taking the hole-shot means leading the race at the first corner.


The homologation of the track and the bikes being used in MotoGP™ racing is the approval process undertaken by the FIM and their associated committees.


The International Road-Racing Teams Association represents all the Grand Prix teams. See Governing Bodies section for more details.

Low Side

A crash whereby the rear wheel or both wheels of the bike lose grip and do not regain traction, resulting in the motorcycle slipping out from underneath the rider.

Lean angle

The lean angle refers to the degree at which a rider tilts his bike into the track as he corners at high speeds. Riders’ knees and elbows can often touch the ground at maximum lean angle.


Simply a left-hand corner, where the rider ‘turns’ left, leaning the left side of his bike and body towards the ground.


The Motorcycle Sports Manufacturers’ Association represents the interests of all the constructors involved in motorcycle racing. See Governing Bodies section for more details.


An ‘OnBoard’ is a television camera carried by a MotoGP™ bike which gives an impression of what it is like to be involved in the action on track.

Parc Fermé

Designated area on pit lane where podium finishers (first three) in each category are interviewed by television crews immediately after each race (See ‘At the circuit’ section for more details).

"Open" class

The "Open" class was introduced from 2014 to represent the bikes using the specification Magneti Marelli software that weren’t entered by the MSMA members or some of their satellite teams. They have a fuel limit of 24 litres and may use 12 engines per season.


The area adjacent to the pit-boxes on the opposite side to the pit lane where teams and riders station their motorhomes and equipment for the duration of a Grand Prix (See ‘At the circuit’ section for more details).


A temporary garage with access directly onto the pit lane, each one designated to a team participating in one of the three MotoGP™ races (See ‘At the circuit’ section for more details).

Pit Crew

The team management, mechanics and their assistants.

Pit lane

An access lane which is usually directly adjacent to the main straight on the track and is used for going between the pit-boxes and the circuit (See ‘At the circuit’ section for more details).


The first three finishers in any Grand Prix race receive their silverware on the victory podium (See ‘At the circuit’ section for more details).

Pole position or pole

Refers to securing the first starting place for the race on the grid and is secured by the quickest lap in qualifying.


On the day before the races, all three classes, MotoGP™, Moto2™ and Moto3™ have to qualify. The riders start the race in the order in which they have qualified, which is to say that the rider with the fastest qualifying time starts in first place or pole position, the second fastest in second place and so on.

Race Direction

Representatives from Dorna, The FIM and IRTA form the Race Direction team at each Grand Prix, making such decisions as declaring race conditions dry or wet. See Governing Bodies section for more details.

Ride Through

A Ride Through procedure is a penalty where a rider is requested to ride through the pit lane and can be imposed if, for example, he has jump started before the race has officially commenced. See Key Rules section for more details.


A right-hand corner, where the rider ‘turns’ right, leaning the right side of his bike and body towards the ground.


A rider competing in his first full year in any of the three categories of Grand Prix racing is referred to as a rookie.


Another name for the podium.


A MotoGP™ term for checking or inspection. Scrutineers are responsible for checking that all MotoGP™ participants abide by the rules.


To slipstream another rider is to follow him on a straight and use the flow of air around him and his machinery to your advantage, by building up the momentum to overtake him in the area of reduced pressure behind him.


Tyres with no tread specifically designed for use in road racing and made of a soft compound, which give just enough grip without slowing the bike down.


The rear section of the bike onto which the rear wheel is mounted is a swingarm. It moves up and down with the rear suspension.

Topping the timesheet

Refers to recording the fastest time in a practice or qualifying session.

Tyre wall

A collection of stacked tyres used as a crash barrier to reduce damage and injury on impact.

Wet Race

A race in which climatic conditions affecting the track surface are considered to be wet, as opposed to dry. See Key Rules section for more details.


A stunt often performed in celebration by riders, in which the front wheel of the motorcycle is lifted off the ground as a result of hard acceleration and a quick release of the clutch.


Unsigned riders who are entered for one-off races, as opposed to regular competitors. See Wild cards section for more details.