MotoGP introduces F1-style Sprint races at all events from 2023

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MotoGP has announced the introduction of Formula 1-style Sprint races at all events from 2023.

The new format is aimed at spicing up on-track action on all three days with the addition of a short race taking place over 50% of the normal Grand Prix distance on Saturday.

The first nine riders in the Sprint will score points with 12 for victory, nine for second, seven for third and then one point less for each position down to P9.

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Before the Sprint, a normal Q1, Q2 qualifying session will also take place on Saturday, but unlike in F1, the result of that will decide the grid for both the Sprint and the race on Sunday.

Friday will see two practice sessions over a longer duration than present, with the combined timesheets from the two sessions determining who directly enters Q2 in qualifying.

Sunday remains unchanged, with the aim of ensuring the MotoGP race is the last on the schedule for that day.

The move has already proven divisive among riders, with some talk of a union now being set up in response due to the lack of communication with them beforehand.

“I think it’s stupid,” reigning champion Fabio Quartararo said.

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“I don’t know, I think the race is on Sunday. I don’t know why we’d do something on Saturday. Honestly, they didn’t really ask us and at the end, I think we all prepare so much to make a good race on Sunday…”

Title rival Aleix Espargaro agreed, adding: “I don’t like the idea. I would like to hear about this with [series promoter] Dorna, because they told me half an hour before.

“I don’t think it’s the ideal thing. Full respect to [World] Superbike [which has sprint races as part of a three-race weekend format] – but this is not Superbike, it’s MotoGP."

Others were more positive though...

“Well, I think for the show it will be better,” said 2020 world champion Joan Mir.

“More races means that on Saturday there’s also some entertainment, more than the qualy.

"At the end, I enjoy racing, I enjoy when I make overtakes and everything, more than a free practice. For me, there is not a big problem with this. Just we have to try to understand if it’s good for us.”

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While Jack Miller was one of the biggest supporters of what is the first major format shake-up in MotoGP in its history.

“I’m a massive fan of it because it’s another chance for a bonus [payment],” the Australian joked.

“Why not try it? They’ve tried everything else, so who not try to switch it up? I think a sprint race will throw an extra element into it where it’s all or nothing. Half points make you want to risk more as a rider, and you won’t have to worry about tyres or fuel or even physical condition.

“A lot of these races you’re limiting yourself – you can’t push to your max, but for half-race distance, you can hold your breath and get it done.

“Why not give it a crack and reassess at the end of the year? It’ll be an amazing addition and something the fans want to see.”

 

         

 

 

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