So it will take some getting used to. MotoGP will change its format significantly from next season, with the holding of a sprint race on Saturday during each Grand Prix. La Dorna, holder of the commercial and broadcasting rights for the premier category of motorcycling, confirmed this Saturday during a press conference on the sidelines of the Austrian GP.
“We have always worked to improve the system and to offer a better show, said Carmelo Ezpeleta, the president of Dorna. This has been discussed with the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM), manufacturers and teams. I also spoke yesterday (Friday) with the pilots in the safety committee. »
The sprint race will not determine the starting grid of the GP
The change of formula was specified in a press release published in the afternoon by Dorna. The sprint race will take place on each circuit, on Saturday at 3 p.m., over a length that is half the length of the Grand Prix contested the following day. It will award points for the World Championship classification, divided by two compared to the GP scale, that is to say 12 for the winner (25 on Sunday).
This event will numerically replace free practice 4 on Saturday and its starting grid will be determined by qualifying, still divided into Q1 and Q2. On the other hand, it will not itself determine the starting grid for Sunday. For the Grand Prix, the qualifications Q1 and Q2 will also prevail.
The very divided pilots
Since Friday and the revelation of the first information on this project, the pilots have shown mixed opinions. Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha), for example, called the format a “dumb”, emphasizing the increased physical load that was going to weigh on the pilots and regretting the lack of consultation with the pilots. Honda’s Spaniard Pol Espargaro remarked that these were going to perform “two races at the weekend, which automatically means more risk”. “I know it works in the Superbike category, he continued. But our motorcycles are harder to ride, faster and it’s just more dangerous. »
“In terms of costs and driver fatigue, it won’t change anything”
Other competitors were more enthusiastic, such as the Frenchman Johann Zarco (Pramac), who thinks this sprint can be “great for fans”. Jack Miller is also curious to see this: “To not try? replied the Australian from Ducati. I think the sprint race will add an element of going all out. »
Present at a press conference as president of IRTA (the association of Grand Prix teams), Hervé Poncharal said that the model could be further developed according to the next feedback from teams and drivers. “The goal is not to create inflationsaid the owner of the KTM-Tech 3 team. In terms of cost and driver fatigue, it won’t change anything. » La Dorna still seems determined not to give up much ground.