Formula 1 is currently at the top of the popularity curve. Netflix’s Drive to Survive series is behind the huge audience, and sprint racing also increases the appeal of race weekends in the eyes of some fans. During the selected grand prix, they decide the order in the starting grid for Sunday’s grand prix.
The steps taken by Formula 1 management were also noticed by other championship organizers. MotoGP representatives confirmed the introduction of the sprint from the 2023 season at the Red Bull Ring on Saturday morning.
The difference with F1 in MotoGP, especially motorcycle racers, will compete in sprints at every race weekend. The Classic Grand Prix half-length sprint will be run on Saturday and drivers will receive half points for them.
Due to the introduction of the sprint, a free practice session and Sunday morning warm-up may be removed from the race weekend for the royal MotoGP class. Thanks to this, there is no need to change the allocation of tires and engines for the season.
Every Saturday? More like in F1
Importantly, unlike F1, the final order of the MotoGP sprint will not affect the composition of the grid for Sunday’s grand prix. Details on the new format of the weekend race will be published in stages, however, voices critical of the sprint can already be heard.
“I think it’s really stupid,” said MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo.
“Obviously, I’m not the one to decide the final form of the race weekend format, but I think the ones to come are going to be really stupid.”
“If we’re going to implement this, let’s do sprints from time to time like in Formula 1. That can be interesting. But sprinting every Saturday? To be honest, there are circuits here where you hit the bottom physically, like Assen or Mugello.”
“We were exhausted at the end of the race. To be honest I don’t think it’s right to introduce something like this without asking the rider’s opinion first. Or at least no one asked me,” lamented the French Yamaha rider.
The world champion of the 2020 season and Suzuki rider Joan Mir took a more conciliatory approach to the idea of sprints.
“Well, it makes for a better show in the end. It’s just a fact. More races means more fun on Saturday, more than qualifying,” said the Spaniard.
Just as the series promoter from the company Dorna, led by Carmelo Ezpeleta when presenting the news, and FIM president Jorge Viegas are also fans of sprint racing. According to him, MotoGP “needs more spectators” and “better performances”.
MotoGP may not just take inspiration from F1. Even three races per weekend are run by MS Superbike riders. First full race on Saturday, then short superpole race on Sunday and then full race 2.