This year the world championship will undergo an epochal change with the introduction of the Sprint Race, half-a-race in terms of length and points which the MotoGP riders will compete in on Saturday in all Grands Prix. This innovation has led to a complete revision of the normal race weekend schedule.
As for MotoGP, there will be three practice sessions (instead of four) with the only the first two counting for direct entry into Q2. Moto3 and Moto2 instead maintain three practice sessions but lose the warm-up.
Here as follows, all day-by-day changes.
Friday will remain practice day and will include two sessions for MotoGP. The first is at 10:45 and lasts 45 minutes, and the second has been extended to 60 minutes. That starts at 15:00, with the combined times from P1 and P2 determining direct entrants to Q1 and Q2 qualifying for MotoGP. Dorna has decided not to call them Free anymore – because they aren’t!
Moto2 has two 40-minute sessions on Friday, and Moto3 two 35-minute sessions. Both count towards the combined timings, but for the lower classes Saturday morning’s P3 is also considered.
Saturday will now change radically. MotoGP has a 30-minute free practice session, similar to the previous FP4, and then it’s time to qualify as Q1 starts at 10:50 before Q2 finalises the rest of the grid at 11:15. Once that’s concluded, the new post-qualifying show will take riders to a new stage for some live interviews in front of the fans.
The Sprint Race will have its own identity. After a condensed 15-minute grid, the new event gets underway at 15:00 every Saturday and the podium will take place at a different location – changeable depending on the Grand Prix – to take the celebrations closer to the fans. Afterwards, a Sprint press conference will take place at 16:15, which will see the attendance of the top three in the Sprint Race, the polesitter and the Championship leader.
Before the Sprint, Moto2 and Moto3, will each have a 30-minute P3 session on Saturday morning, with the combined times from P1-P2-P3 determining their direct entrants to Q1 and Q2. Moto3 qualify first from 12:50, before Moto2 from 13:45.
There are no Warmup sessions for Moto2 and Moto3, so the MotoGP class opens and closes the show on Grand Prix race day. 9:45 sees a 10-minute Warm Up session get action underway, before a MotoGP rider fan parade at 10am. The riders will head around the track and make a couple of pitstops before landing back at the Hero Walk for more face-to-face fan time.
Racing begins at 11:00 for Moto3 before the Moto2 race at the slightly earlier time of 12:15.
The MotoGP race begins at 14:00, with the traditional podium set for 15:00. The structure is to be maintained throughout the season, and the MotoGP race will always be the final track action on Sunday. At many events, the fans will be given the chance to flood to the podium and get to the heart of the celebrations.
Below is the new schedule: