MotoGP: Point-Paying Sprint Races On Saturdays Coming In 2023

MotoGP: Point-Paying Sprint Races On Saturdays Coming In 2023

© 2022, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Dorna:

Sprint races to be introduced at all Grands Prix from 2023 

Saturday, 20 August 2022

The FIM, IRTA, MSMA and Dorna Sports can now announce a new Sporting Format to be introduced for the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship from 2023. Sprint races will be introduced at all Grands Prix, creating an exciting, action-packed programme for fans on every day of a MotoGP™ race weekend and maintaining a consistent format across the calendar.

Sprint races will take place at 15:00 on the Saturday of each Grand Prix and be approximately 50% of the full race distance. The Sprint race will have a 15-minute grid procedure, and the sporting rules will be the same as a full-length Grand Prix race on Sunday.

In Sprint races, points will be awarded as follows:

1st Position: 12

2nd Position: 9

3rd Position: 7

4th Position: 6

5th Position: 5

6th Position: 4

7th position: 3

8th position: 2

9th position: 1

Sprint races will not determine the grid for the Grand Prix race. Riders must be free to race on Saturday, without the need to consider their Sunday grid position. The grids for both the Sprint race and the Grand Prix race will be set from qualifying, which will retain its Q1-Q2 format.

The introduction of Sprint Races allows every day of a race weekend to offer fans and broadcasters the best possible experience on track and off, with track action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday focused on maximum spectacle to show off the best of MotoGP™. In addition, the new format will provide increased engagement opportunities for fans, broadcasters and media across the event and increase the profile of the MotoGP™ class without reducing that of Moto2™ and Moto3™.

2023 race weekends

The MotoGP™ class will have two practice sessions on Friday, which will be of a longer duration. The combined timesheets from these sessions will determine the direct entrants to Q2, guaranteeing Friday increased significance and exposure.

On Saturday morning, the MotoGP™ class will have one 30-minute Free Practice session (similar to the current FP4) followed by Q1 and Q2 for qualifying. The Sprint Race will then take place at 15:00, creating an incredible line-up of MotoGP™ track action on Saturday.

Sunday will remain a spectacle for fans and broadcasters, with the Moto3™, Moto2™ and MotoGP™ Grand Prix races. The target will also be to have MotoGP™ as the last race on Sunday at each event, allowing for an improved podium ceremony, on-track celebrations and the possibility of fan track invasions at each venue.

MotoGP™ sessions will be the last of each block, further standardising the format of the race weekend and maintaining the same order throughout each event. Moto3™ will be followed by Moto2™, followed by MotoGP™.

Here are some quotes from the Press Conference held on Saturday in Austria.

Jorge Viegas, FIM President: “The fact is, as I read in social media, this is a Sprint Race press conference. So, this is true, you already know that we are going to introduce, starting next year, a sprint race on the Saturday afternoon of every Grand Prix; not like in Formula 1, but in every Grand Prix. We think that after two years of COVID, when all of us made incredible sacrifices to keep having this important Championship, it’s time to give more exposure, as Carmelo says, in the TV, but also to the spectators. We need more spectators, we need a better show, and we need to fill the Saturdays. There are some details that still need to defined, decided together with the teams, together with the riders, together with the manufacturers. But, in principle, you already announced the major part of the new things! The only thing I think you are still in doubt about, is that this Sprint Race will not count for the grid; the grid is defined by the qualifying.”

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports: “It has been the aim of the Championship; FIM, IRTA, and Dorna, from the beginning to try to improve every time, as much as we can, everything in the sport: the safety, the show, everything. We are working in all the areas but especially in that. We have been looking at other sports for different possibilities and we are trying to offer a better show, especially for the fans, the promoters, and television. It’s very important to us to offer a new schedule which will, in our opinion, improve our presence in all the Grands Prix. This has been something discussed obviously with the FIM, with the manufacturers, and with the teams, and then yesterday, I talked with the riders in the Safety Commission. Even if the Safety Commission is for safety, since the beginning, I has been very proud to talk with the riders about different things. Obviously the matter to inform the riders is something that must be made by their individual teams, but yesterday we had some discussions and I’m very happy to hear the President of the FIM announce what we want to announce today.”

Herve Poncharal, IRTA President: “Back from the summer break, we had a very important meeting together with Mike Trimby to represent the teams as IRTA, with Carmelo and Carlos Ezpeleta. This was really the first time that we saw the project, and from the very beginning, we liked it a lot. If you don’t move forward, you make a step backwards, I think, and although our show is great, maybe the best on Earth, that doesn’t mean we cannot have room for improvement, and there is room for improvement. As Carmelo said to us also, yes, we looked at what is happening somewhere else, and we would be stupid to not look at what is happening somewhere else and works somewhere else. From the very first point I really liked it, we had a meeting with all our colleagues in the Independent MotoGP teams, and universally they supported and they liked it a lot, thinking that it’s going to help also the teams’ business because the media, I’m quite sure, will like it a lot, will love it; the sponsors when the media are more active, will like it a lot.

“So all I can say is we have in mind not to create any inflation, so therefore engine allocation, tyre allocation will remain the same; mileage on the weekend will remain more or less the same. So, there will be no more track action. We will try not to give more work to the riders, but there will be more action, more excitement, which is what MotoGP is all about. I’m very proud to be part of the Championship, to have Carmelo and Jorge next to me to announcing this important news. For sure, as Jorge said, there are still important things to be fine-tuned. We always listen to everybody and when it is something which is visible and clearly an improvement, we will adapt ourselves. But overall, I think this is an important day for MotoGP, and I believe 2023 will be even more exciting.”

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