2023 will be the year of the Sprint Race, the mini-race inspired by Formula 1 that will double the commitment of the riders. In fact, in every Grand Prix weekend there will be two races: the usual one on Sunday and the one on Saturday, which will have half the number of laps. It won’t be an innovation to be taken lightly, because the stress will increase for the riders and teams.
When presenting the new format, Dorna and FIM underlined how with the elimination of FP4 the number of kilometres per weekend would remain virtually unchanged, but the intensity required by a practice session is one thing and that of a race - albeit with half the number of laps - is another.
Our Motorsport colleagues have calculated the increase in race kilometres compared to the 2022 season and the number is pretty big: we are talking about almost 1,300 km more, 1,285 to be precise.
Indeed, it should be noted that not only will the Sprint Race be introduced next year, but also another Grand Prix, bringing the total to 21 compared to 20 this year. Therefore, while in 2022 the kilometre average was 113.63 every Sunday, in 2023 it will come close to 170, going from 2,272.6 km in total to 3,558.16. An increase of more than 50%, counting the Sprint Race and the extra GP.
It is clear that the riders will be put to the test, from a mental point of view but also from a physical one. In this sense, winter will be essential to prepare properly for the change, even though to be honest nobody knows exactly what to expect and they will all find out along the way.
Also because the Sprint Race will be a different race from the usual one, because with less time and space to administer everything, the riders will need to go on the attack right away, without having to worry too much about the tyres. On some circuits (Austin comes to mind for its design or Sepang for the prohibitive climate) it will be a real tour de force, also because the risk of an injury is always around the corner.
It's true that the riders are by now true sportsmen, but it's just as true that the current MotoGP bikes are heavy and powerful bikes that take them to the limit in just one race, let alone two.
Next year will not only be a challenge for the riders, but also for their personal trainers.