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Fortune favours the brave in flag-to-flag races

Sunday, 16 October 2022

When the weather can change quickly, the MotoGP™ racers in the Animoca Brands Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2022 face more challenges than almost anyone else in motorsport. But what happens when a dry race turns wet, or a wet race turns dry?

That is when one of the unique aspects of MotoGP™ racing comes in – the flag-to-flag race. When officials deem that the track conditions are compromised by changes in weather and declare a 'wet' race, riders will have the option of pitting and changing onto their spare machine, which would be set up to cope with the opposite conditions to those at the start of the race.


The indicator that the riders will have this option will be the white flag. When the marshals around the circuit display this, the riders will have the option to pit. They can be advised by their traditional pit boards, their electronic message display or make up their own minds.

This plays in the hands of the riders who are adept at riding on the 'wrong' tyre in mixed conditions and those who can adapt from one type of set-up to another. Marc Marquez is an expert in this, and so is Jack Miller. The Aussie won in France last year by timing his bike swap to perfection and riding smart in the slippery conditions.

It's your last chance to secure Grandstand tickets to Race Day at the Animoca Brands Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2022.

The ultimate performance in a flag-to-flag race may have come in Austria last year. When the Red Bull Ring was hit by rain late in the race five of the leading riders, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), Francesco Bagnaia (Lenovo Ducati), Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha), Jorge Martin (Pramac Ducati) and Joan Mir (Ecstar Suzuki) – pitted for wets. But Brad Binder rolled the dice and stayed out, sliding around the wet track on slicks while the rest came on on their wet tyres.

Binder the Brave skated around the final lap 15 seconds a lap slower than his pursuers but held on to win. Another half lap and it was likely that second-placed Pecco Bagnaia might have caught him, but he didn't...

The other thing to note about the flag-to-flag rule is that it only applies in MotoGP™. In the other categories, Moto2 and Moto3 riders do not have spare bikes and have to cope the best they can unless the race is stopped and restarted.