Flags & Lights
During the course of a Grand Prix, flags and warning lights are used to advise and warn the riders, providing them with critical information about the race.
The flags are displayed by marshals at various points around the circuit, and riders must always be aware of the messages which the marshals are displaying to them. All flags will be shown waved.
Virtual Pit Board messaging systems (VPB) in the MotoGP™ class are optional in 2018, but if used they must follow the regularly updated technical protocols and the dashboard must display exactly the same message as that sent by the team and received by Timekeeping/TV. In addition, if used, the system must be capable of communicating Race Direction messages – such as those regarding flags and/or penalties.
Ignoring flag instructions can result in the following punishments for the riders depending on the seriousness of the infringement: warning, fine, ride through (see the Key Rules section for more information), change of race position (see yellow flag rules below), time penalty, disqualification, withdrawal of Championship points, suspension or exclusion.
Disqualification. Waved at each flag marshal post together with the rider's number, the black flag means the rider must stop at the pits at the end of the current lap - and cannot restart. This flag will be presented only after the rider's team has been notified. The rider has 5 laps to pull in to the pit lane.
Black Flag with Orange Disc
This flag informs the rider that their motorcycle has mechanical problems, which are likely to endanger themselves or others, and they must immediately leave the track.
Waved at the flag marshal post only during a MotoGP™ race, this flag indicates that the riders are allowed to change machine. Race Direction indicates through the white flag that the track is wet enough to justify the change of bikes and the Grand Prix becomes a wet race, having originally been declared a ‘dry race’ at the start
White Flag with diagonal Red Cross and Yellow & Red Striped Flag
Rain on this section of the track (waved at the flag marshal post) - this combination of flags simply advises the rider that the track is wet because it has started to rain.
Shown waved at the flag marshal post, this flag indicates to a rider that they are about to be overtaken and they must allow the rider(s) following to pass at the earliest opportunity. During practice sessions, the rider concerned must keep their line and slow down gradually to allow the faster rider to pass. During the race, the rider shown the blue flag is about to be lapped. Also, this flag is shown to a rider leaving the pit lane if traffic is approaching on the track.
This flag should be waved at the finish line on track level to indicate the finish of a race or practice session. The race winner is the first rider to reach this flag as they cross the line.
Shown waved at each row of the starting grid, this flag indicates that the start of the race is delayed. Shown waved on one row of the starting grid, this flag indicates that a rider on that row is having difficulties. Shown waved at the flag marshal post, this flag indicates that there is a danger ahead beside the track. Two Yellow Flags shown waved at the flag marshal post indicate there is a danger ahead either partly or wholly blocking the track. The riders must slow down and be prepared to stop. Overtaking is forbidden up until the point where the green flag is shown.
Any infringement of this rule during a practice session will result in the cancellation of the lap time during which the infraction occurred. In case of infringement of this rule during the race, the rider must go back the number of positions decided by the Race Direction.
During the final inspection lap, this flag must be waved at the exact place where the flag marshal will be positioned during the practices, warm-ups and races.
Red Flag and Red Lights
When the race or practice is interrupted, the red flag will be waved at each flag marshal post and the red lights around the track will be switched on. Riders must return slowly to the pits. When the pit-lane exit is closed, this flag will be shown motionless at the pit-lane exit and the light will be switched on. Riders are not allowed to exit the pit lane.
If two-thirds of the race distance in Moto2 or Moto3 or three-quarters of the race distance in MotoGP (rounded down to the nearest whole number of laps) have been completed by the leader of the race and all riders on the same lap as the leader, then the race will be deemed complete and full points will be awarded.
Race Start. The red lights will be switched on at the start line for between two and five seconds to start each race. 'The lights go out' is therefore a favourite phrase for commentators to indicate that a race has started, as this is the signal to riders that racing has begun.
At the end of each practice session and warm-up, a red light will be switched on at the finish line.
This light must be switched on at the pit lane exit to signal the start of each practice session and Warm Up, the start of the sighting laps and the warm up lap.
The track is clear. This flag must be waved at each flag marshal post for the first lap of each practice session and Warm Up, for the sighting lap(s) and for the warm up lap. This flag must be waved by the starter to signal the start of the warm up lap. When the pit-lane exit is open, this flag must be waved at the pit-lane exit.
This flag must also be waved at the flag marshal post immediately after the incident that necessitated the use of one or more yellow flags.