The MotoGP Friday format change and what it means for the Monster Energy British Grand Prix18 July 2023
The 2023 MotoGP World Championship saw one of the biggest shake-ups in the history of the sport as it introduced the sprint race concept at the beginning of the season.
A change that fundamentally alters the definition of a two-wheel premier class race weekend will naturally bring significant changes to the event format and the rulebook. As seen with the introduction of Formula 1 Sprint Qualifying in 2023, these rule changes aren’t always perfect the first time round and are subsequently revised and improved over time.
After initially being vetoed by Ducati, it has now been announced by the Grand Prix Commission that MotoGP’s 2023 format will be refined in the second half of the season, starting with the British round at Silverstone.
During the first eight rounds of the year, the 10 fastest riders from Friday’s combined classification – across both practice sessions – would progress through to the grid-deciding Qualifying 2 session. Meanwhile, the remainder of the field would duke it out for the final two Q2 slots in Qualifying 1.
That’s all set to change as the riders return from their summer break. The opening MotoGP session of the weekend, Free Practice 1 on Friday morning, will no longer influence qualifying in any way.
For the remainder of the season, the newly dubbed ‘Practice’ on Friday afternoon will be the only session – other than Q1 and Q2 themselves – to impact qualifying. As was the case previously, the 10 fastest times will book riders a place in Q2, while two further Q2 slots remain up for grabs for the rest of the field in Q1.
In theory, this translates to fewer crashes; riders will now be less inclined to set a banker lap in the closing moments of Free Practice 1 when track conditions aren’t optimum. More rubber on the racing line in Practice creates more stability across both sessions.
The Monster Energy British Grand Prix schedule
For the Monster Energy British Grand Prix specifically, this means that FP1 runs from 10:45 to 11:30 on Friday, 4 August whilst the hour-long Practice session gets underway from 15:00 that afternoon.
The weekend really starts to gather pace on Saturday, 5 August with a short 30-minute Free Practice 2 at 10:05, swiftly followed by Q1 and Q2 at 10:50 and 11:15 respectively, each elapsing for a total of 15 minutes. The sprint race gets underway that afternoon at 15:00.
On Sunday, 6 August, a short morning Warm Up session lasts for 10 minutes at 09:45 then the headline event, the feature race itself begins at 13:00 to decide the winner of the 2023 Monster Energy British Grand Prix.