Everything You Should Know About MotoGP Sprint Races, 2023
MotoGP is all set to launch sprint races to Grand Prix weekends from 2023. Let’s learn more about it in detail.
This Friday, Autosport reported about the Austrian Grand Prix weekend. Also, we have an official confirmation from MotoGP about sprint races to be held at every event in the coming year.
If you are not familiar with the term print races, they are half-distance races with half-points on offer. They do not have any bearing on the starting grid for the crucial Grand Prix.
Reasons For Running Sprint Races
Currently, MotoGP is working towards repositioning itself in the motorsport space after witnessing a significant drop in people’s interest in the series. Although they tried to boost this interest by uploading behind-the-scenes docuseries as ‘MotoGP Unlimited’ on Amazon Prime in March, they experienced failure and cancellation of the second season.
To save the pride of this motorsport, MotoGP owner ‘Dorna Sports,’ along with the ‘Motorsport Network,’ conducted a global fan survey, which has a tremendous response of over 100,000.
In that survey, the idea that was supported a lot was the launch of the sprint race to the grand prix weekend format. It was the copy of the strategy adopted by Formula 1 in 2021 and what World Superbikes have been doing since 2019.
Sprint Races have been seen as a hope to offer better value to the MotoGP fans both watching from the track as well as from home. It is also expected to attract more sponsorship and enhance its worldwide exposure.
When Are Sprint Races Going To Take Place?
MotoGP is going to conduct sprint races on the Saturdays of every Grand Prix event from 2023. It will be held at 3 pm local time, along with the usual qualifying session happening earlier in the day to decide the grid for it.
How Will Sprint Races work?
MotoGP sprint races will run half of the total distance of the leading Grand Prix. For example, if the Grand Prix consisted of 20 laps, the sprint race will cover ten laps. For accommodating this race, the makers can slightly alter the weekend’s format. The practice session will be held every Friday twice and can be extended.
Although it is not yet clear how long FP1 and FP2 will now be, the new format states that it will remain unchanged from 2022. It also signifies unaltered tire and engine allocations. The format used for qualification will also stay the same.
This format is considered to be a departure from the system used in F1. There will be no 20-minute warm-up on the Sunday schedule. Moreover, from the next year, the sessions held all day will form the last class to go out in every part of the day.
This plan is made to ensure track invasions for better fan engagements. However, the clashes with the start times of F1 races on weekends are yet to be cleared. It is because MotoGP always runs before the scheduled start of the European F1 races currently.
Will Riders Acquire Points in MotoGP Sprint Races?
Yes, riders in the top nine positions of the sprint races will acquire half points, unlike traditional Grand Prix races where the top 15 riders score points in a sequence of 25, 20, 16, 13, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
In the sprint races, the winner will score 12 points, whereas the remaining eighth positions score in a sequence of 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Will Sprint Races Count As MotoGP Grand Prix Wins?
According to Dorna, the wins in Sprint Races will have different counting than in the Grand Prix. It means that the rider who wins the first MotoGP victory in the sprint contest will not be considered a Grand Prix winner.
Number Of Sprint Races
Sprint races will be held at every Grand Prix event on Saturdays in the coming year. According to the 2023 calendar, as there will be 21 Grand Prix races, there will be 21 sprint races, which sums up to 42 MotoGP races.
What Riders Have To Say About MotoGP Sprint Races?
The news of Sprint races being added to the MotoGP schedule has come with mixed feelings from riders. Riders like Jack Miller and Joan Mir reacted positively to this idea. Even six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez has praised Autosport for making this spectacular decision. He thinks that it is a wise decision, especially when it is in favor of the show.
He loves to ride on Sundays, and Sprint races will make it more spectacular and give a completely different point of view of the weekend. It will reduce the testing time and make the work of the factories even more significant.
However, there are also riders like Fabio Quartararo and Aleix Esparagaro who are against this idea. According to Quartararo, the idea is completely stupid. He says that if the race is conducted timely, just like Formula 1, it might be interesting. However, every Saturday is not what makes it pleasing for him. He further explained the scenarios when a rider feels exhausted. It is not the right thing to do without the riders’ consent.
Overall, the first MotoGP sprint race is going to be held at the opening round of the 2023 season at the Portuguese Grand Prix on the week