It will take some time to get used to the new practice format. What is certain is that the day is certainly more syncopated and compressed. Work goes on to gain access to Q2, rather than fine-tuning the bikes, but Portimao only tells part of the story and this is because the Grand Prix was preceded by two days of practice during which the set-up has already been sorted.
From the next race, in Argentina, a track that usually has dirty asphalt and little grip on the first day, things will be different. The categorical imperative for everyone is to find a decent set-up to be fast right away. No need to waste time.
Furthermore, more than one rider at this point considers FP3 as being pointless, which, moreover, since it takes place in the morning, usually has air and asphalt temperature conditions that are very different from both the afternoon and the race.
So we’ll have to wait for the first Sprint Race (why didn't Dorna call it Speed Race so as not to copy F1?) to see what the actual levels are of the rider-bike pairings; depending on this there will be riders who, knowing they can perform better in the sprint than in the normal GP, or vice versa, will put more effort into one or the other. In fact, the goal in a championship of 42 races is not to waste anything and bring home as many points as possible.
In any case, there haven't been any surprises so far, in terms of the actual levels. We will only have to weigh up the potential of the individual pairings in the long and short races. Because for the moment this is not very clear.
However, it is not entirely clear what the choice of tires will be, because if the rear soft is taken for granted, for the front there is less certainty in whether or not to mount a medium or a soft. Motorcycle and riding will have a lot of effect on the two options. We will see.
Today was a bit of a confusing day, both on the track and for us, between the paddock and the pressroom: the consolidated procedures have all gone by the wayside and the impression, as we said, is that of the times being compressed. The riders, now required right from Friday to withstand greater pressure for access to Q2, also noticed this. We are in open water, everyone. And so are you dear fans/spectators, who are the end users of this revolution. Those who will have to decree the success or otherwise of this revolution.