They’ve been talking about it since the beginning of the year. Is the new MotoGP format with a Sprint Race at each Grand Prix too demanding for riders or not?
The only one who can knowingly talk about it is Danilo Petrucci, who has been racing in the Superbike since this year, replacing an injured Enea Bastianini on the official Ducati at Le Mans. The 32-year-old rider from Terni qualified 16th in the Sprint and 11th in the Grand Prix due to numerous falls.
While the Superbike Sprint race has been around since 2019, the MotoGP race at the halfway point of the Grand Prix was only introduced this season. The goal was to make Saturdays more exciting and attract more spectators to the circuit.
Petrucci compared the Superpole – a ten-lap sprint that takes place on Sunday morning, in which the top nine classified riders define the first three rows of the starting grid of Sunday afternoon’s second main race – to a bar brawl. But which weekend is more challenging? The Superbike or the MotoGP?
“In the World Superbike Championship, we have three races in one weekend. The two on Sunday are more or less like a MotoGP Grand Prix,” Danilo told Speedweek. “A Superbike race lasts about thirty-five minutes. A MotoGP seven or eight minutes longer. That’s not a lot. But by the time you’ve done thirty-five minutes, that’s a lot. So these almost ten minutes are very difficult. The MotoGP sprint went well for me. The long race at Le Mans was much more difficult, especially because of the pace at which we raced. The tires didn’t degrade, so we were able to push throughout the entire race. A MotoGP race is hard and long ,and the pace is very high.”
Petrucci talks about intensity. Are there any differences between the Superbike Superpole race and the MotoGP Sprint race?
“In the Superbikes, sometimes we can also ride with a softer rear tire, but it must also be said that the tires are fundamentally different in the two championships. When the Pirelli tire is new, it offers an incredible amount of grip, but then degrades. With the Michelin, however, you can push the entire distance. That makes a big difference. So, in the MotoGP, you always have to push.”