MotoGP’s Sprint Race era will officially commence when the 2023 season gets underway on March 24-26, 2023. With a half-distance Sprint Race scheduled for all 21 rounds of the 2023 calendar, the Grand Prix will host a total of 42 races this year. Those clambering for all the MotoGP action they can handle will rejoice over Dorna releasing the new 2023 race weekend format (disclaimer: timeslots listed are all local race times).
As always, each Grand Prix will kick off on Friday. The 45-minute Practice 1 session starts at 10:45 am. At 3 pm, Practice 2 begins, but officials extended the afternoon session to one hour. Following the two Friday practices, the top 10 riders will automatically move on to the Qualifying 2 session while the remaining competitors will vie for the last two Q2 slots in Qualifying 1.
Prior to Qualifying, the riders will benefit from a 30-minute Free Practice starting at 10:10 am. Soon after, Q1 riders will rejoin the track at 10:50 am. Those eligible for Q2 will then battle it out for pole position at 11:15 am. Each Qualifying session will remain 15 minutes. With the grid set for the Sprint Race and the full-length Grand Prix, riders will only have 3.5 hours to recharge before the lights go out for the Sprint Race at 3 pm.
Come Sunday, the Premier Class will hit the circuit for a short, 10-minute Warm-Up session at 9:45 pm. Five minutes later, when the clock strikes 10 am, the racers will participate in the MotoGP Rider Fan Show. During the 30-minute, pre-race parade, the competitors won’t just lap the track but also interface with fans at the designated Hero Walk section.
With the dog and pony show finally over, the teams will attempt to refocus before the GP commences at 2 pm. For those new to MotoGP, Dorna instituted Sprint Races for each round as a way to drive attendance. Let’s just hope all the hullabaloo that comes with it doesn’t actually detract from the racing in 2023.