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Videometry in MotoGP: what is it and why are they using it?

videometry motogp depiction

Starting in 2024 MotoGP teams will all have a videographer on staff to give riders an edge in finding the best racing line.

What is it?

Videometry basically consists of recording images or footage of a selected area of the track – usually a curve or corner – software is then used to superimpose these images with the racing lines of other riders to show the best lines to take.

By analysing this data, you can see which is the fastest line being used by fellow riders and aim to imitate that trajectory.

A former MotoGP technical Chief, Munzone, explained this technology to Motorsport.com

“Basically the issue consists of recording the drivers on a certain section of the track, then you overlay it to see the different manoeuvres and let the rider see for himself some of the things that he does, that he doesn’t do, and that it might help him to do.”

For those new to MotoGp lets first take a quick look at what is a racing line

What are racing lines?

The racing line is the fastest line a rider could take through a corner.

These differ corner to corner and race track to racetrack.

While the method of being on the racing line remains the same many things impact the line itself.

The severity of the corner, track width and whether there is a straight or corner immediately before or after are all things that will impact where the racing line is.

Generally speaking the fastest racing line to take is approached in the same way by making use of the entire width of the track and beginning on the outside of the track, turning in at the correct time to meet the apex and then moving back to the outside of the track following the corner.

This creates the largest radius possible allowing riders to maintain speed through the corner.

cornering motogp

To successfully utilise the racing line a rider must adopt the following process:

  • Knowing the correct time to Brake and how hard to brake
  • Correctly finding the optimal Turn In Point: Missing this will affect your exit speed
  • Finding the Apex which is the centre point of a corner.
  • Exit the corner with maximum speed on the straightest line.

Different Racing Lines

A faster racing line exists which is referred to as the Late Apex Line or Squaring Off the corner.

This line a rider will utilise a later apex (so a point further around the corner) “Square Off” the line taken so basically a sharper turn.

This is useful in certain situations and riders prefer to take this line when they can.

It does have the benefit of sometimes being considered the fastest line as you can hit the throttle harder earlier and because of the trajectory of this line there is less risk of running wide on the exit.

There is a trade-off; you need to brake earlier and therefore you can be overtaken on the entry.

The additional benefit to cornering on this line is less lean and more stability through the corner.

Now that we have a basic understanding of racing lines let’s take a look at how MotoGP technology is providing visual data to teams helping with racing line analysis

When was Videometry first developed?

This is not exactly a new technology in the MotoGP paddock.

In 2011 Serge Andrey, a Belgian data technician with Ducati began to implement videography to improve rider lines.

He worked on this for Ducati until the end of 2013 when Ducati put an end to this project.

At that time Serge Andrey had no official software or programme to work with so he began to develop his own.

While Ducati decided against moving forward with the technology in 2013 Honda, specifically LCR Honda had been paying attention to this progress in technology and hired Serge Andrey.

In 2014 the technology of videography and superimposing rider lines was applied to Stephen Bradl.

However Bradl decided to move to Aprilia for 2015 and it seemed again the technology may have landed on the back burner.

But LCR Honda had seen some success with Cal Crutchlow and Factory Honda rider Marc Marquez applying the data from the Videometry.

Since their main rider had shown a keen interest in this technology, Factory Honda decided to pay the cost of keeping Serge Andrey on the LCR Honda team so their number 1 rider could continue to benefit from his expertise.

The evolution of Videometry in the MotoGP paddock

Once the benefits were seen, Suzuki also began to utilise Videometry.

Motohiko Tono developed and implemented a system at Suzuki that was eventually purchased by Honda, with the intention of being for Marc Marquez and therefore no longer needing to cover the costs of technician Serge Audrey.

However, this pairing did not really gel and Motohiko ended up being responsible for Pol Espargaro only and later Joan Mir.

Marc Marquez opting instead to keep utilising the LCR technician.

By 2019 Yamaha had also started to implement Videometry and employed video expert Daniel Bollini who would record and edit the videos and team leaders would be in charge of analysing it with the riders.

From here the concept only grew and what began as something rudimentary has developed into specific software both free and licensed as explained by Munzone in his interview with Motorsport.

For the 2024 season

Advances with software development and opensource licensing have made the technology available on a wider scale.

As a result, we will no longer see teams employ a developer engineer but rather a person skilled in recording and editing the required footage.

This person will work alongside a specialist technician for analysis of the data.

The technicians will be referred to as riding coaches.

Teams already have a ‘coach’ that works with riders and this will remain in place. For example, VR46 is said to have the best coach in the paddock, Idalio Gavira.

  • Gresini have also been developing this technology utilising the talent of former Moto3 and Moto2 world champion Manuel Poggiali.
  • For 2024 Poggiali will also officially be the Factory Ducatis riding coach and will work between the two teams.
  • Max Sabbatani will be in charge of Videometry at Pramac Ducati.
  • VR46 will be joined by former Moto2 rider Andrea Migno who is officially listed as the riding coach and will be in charge of Videometry working closely with VR46 coach Idalio Gavira.
  • LCR Honda continue to have Serge Andrey on staff with his software. It has been reported Marquez offered Andrey to follow him to Gresini Ducati or even to sell the software to the Gressini team but it appears Andrey decided to stay with LCR stating that after 10 years with the team they are like family.
  • Aprillia, Tech 3 and Trackhouse Racing will be hiring an external company to provide this service to their riders.
  • KTM has also opted to go with an external company since 2021. Prior to this the role had been filled by the son of then team director Mike Leitner.

The difference between Telemetry Data and Videometry

Telemetry data refers to the data collected from multiple sensors on a MotoGP bike. This includes the recently unified tyre pressure sensors system, speed, temperatures, engine performance, fuel management data etc.

This data is gathered from the bike itself and can be used both in real time by the team and can be edited using specialised software to create overlays to analysed to improve performance.

MotoGP does not have the same capabilities of communication between team and rider that F1 does.

This is a little bit like what viewers see while watching a broadcast with the graphics for lean angle etc.

Of course that is broadcast telemetry data, the real team data is confidential and not publicly available.

Videometry on the other hand is images or video collected external to the bike.

It is capturing the racetrack itself specifically the corners. This is then edited in a similar way with overlays applied through specialised software and then it is ready for the rider to utilise the findings.

Videometry in WSB

With every advantage needed not just in MotoGP but across motorsport in general this technology will also be seen as a trend in World Superbikes.

Factory teams such as Ducati and Yamaha are already seen implementing the technology with Honda joining them in the 2024 season.

How does it benefit the riders?

While it stretches some budgets to have a riding coach dedicated to utilising Videometry technology, it is now seen as a must have.

With MotoGP becoming so close in terms of times and competitiveness, it really is a tenth of a second between riders so any advantage is being taken by teams in order to win the podium and ultimately the championship.

Utilising this technology means rather than having to rely on getting into the slipstream of a faster rider or simply studying the videos of other riders versus their own performance to see which lines riders take, they can now see exactly which trajectory in and out of the corner the fastest riders take.

Having this technology and data analysis takes the guesswork out of it although that does not mean the rider will automatically be able to imitate that line.

Many things contribute to this being implemented such as personal riding style and bike capability to name just two.

Some fans feel this is simply another step towards total automation of motorsports where the riders are simply an object on the bike, no longer really impacting the performance of the bike or the outcome of the race through skill but rather by preset mapping and functions of the bike itself – or in this case simply copying a predetermined and proven trajectory.

I disagree

Yes there are more electronics. However they still need to be controlling all of this, selecting which mapping and when, knowing which corner has which line, on a different track each fortnight at 300 km/h with 22 other motorcycles all trying to win.

I’m not sure anything can ever remove the skill, dedication and absolute bravery required to do all that without crashing.

Time will tell if this will make racing less exciting or add yet another exciting dynamic to the racing as more riders fight for the perfect line and the perfect race to the podium.

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