MotoGP makes big changes ahead of Silverstone British GP

MotoGP organisers, teams and the Grand Prix Commission have rubber stamped changes for the format of races, starting at the British Grand Prix.

Francesco Bagnaia leads MotoGP pack, 2023 MotoGP Dutch TT. - Gold and Goose

MotoGP has announced that it will be changing the structure of the weekend for the MotoGP class from the next round of the 2023 season at Silverstone.

The new weekend structure has been decided on unanimously by the MotoGP class teams, and has therefore been approved by the Grand Prix Commission (GPC).

The new structure alters the ‘pre-qualifying’ format that has existed since 2012, and which sees the top 10 riders from the combined free practice times qualify for Q2, while the remaining riders fight for the top two positions in Q1 in order to advance to Q2.

This year, the arrival of the MotoGP Sprint changed the weekend structure significantly, and the shorter race’s place on Saturday afternoon saw qualifying moved to Saturday morning. That meant the old ‘Free Practice 4’ session became the third practice session of the weekend, simply named ‘Free Practice’, and was the only practice session that did not count for Q1/Q2 ‘pre-qualifying’. 

In turn, the result of that was that all of the ‘pre-qualifying’ now took place in the 105 minutes of practice on Friday, which, in turn, meant there was more importance placed on setting a fast lap in FP1, the first session of the weekend.

Concerns began to be raised after a few races this season that the new format was too intense, because riders and teams barely had chance to set up their respective motorcycles for a particular track before they were needing to start pushing for a time attack.

The new structure sees what has been ‘Practice 1’ since the beginning of 2023 become ‘Free Practice 1’, and irrelevant to Q1/Q2 ‘pre-qualifying’. This means that the Saturday morning session is renamed ‘Free Practice 2’, while the Friday afternoon session is renamed from ‘Practice 2’ to simply ‘Practice’, and is now the only timed session that counts for Q1/Q2 seeding.

So, for clarity, the new MotoGP practice structure works as follows:

  • FP1 - Friday morning, untimed, does not count for Q1/Q2 seeding
  • Practice - Friday afternoon, timed, the only session that counts for Q1/Q2 seeding, top 10 direct to Q2
  • FP2 - Saturday morning, untimed, does not count for Q1/Q2 seeding

The new weekend structure will be in place from the next round of the 2023 MotoGP World Championship, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, which takes place on 4-6 August.

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