Friday Morning Practice To Make A Return For MotoGP

The recent spate of Saturday morning highsides is currently being put down to two factors. The first is a lack of grip caused by the cooler temperatures in the morning, a factor that nobody can do very much about. But the second factor is a lack of data, due to the Friday morning practice session being scrapped. With the riders out for the first time on Friday afternoon, in warmer temperatures and subsequent grippier tires, the teams and riders are being caught out in the cool of the morning.

But this problem is about to be addressed. According to reports in the Italian media (Sportmediaset and MotoSprint), MotoGP is about to return to four sessions of free practice, up from three. The "lost morning" on Friday is to be reclaimed, with all three classes in MotoGP having an extra session of practice reinstated on Friday morning. The measure is due to take effect from the Motorland Aragon Grand Prix in the middle of September, with the series returning to three free practice sessions and one qualifying session in the afternoon.

The reduction of practice from four to three sessions was part of a series of cost-cutting measures introduced at the start of the 2009 season, at the height of the financial crisis. To ensure that costs are kept in check, the sessions will be shortened in length, from three lots of one hour to four lots of 45 minutes, providing the riders and teams with exactly the same amount of time on track.

The move is likely to be welcomed by inexperienced riders and teams. In a forthcoming interview to be published on MotoMatters.com, Hiroshi Aoyama and his Interwetten Honda crew chief Tom Jojic pleaded for exactly this change. Having practice spread over four sessions would give the crews more time to analyze data, and to test their assumptions on the bike, Jojic explained. Now, too much work was being crammed into too little time, and the teams were being forced to try things out without time to evaluate exactly what the problem might be. Though more track time would also be welcomed, this move will surely go some way to address those complaints.

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Comments

Great to hear! Ever since they took the morning practice away and then reduced all of the sessions to 45 minutes on top of that! It didn't feel right. I felt the fans at the track were the real losers, and I didn't notice general admission ticket prices going down to reflect the lesser track time, either.
Then they revert back to an hour each session, then back to morning practice.
Who made up these rules in the first place and has he been fired yet? Never have I seen so many changes to a rulebook in one season! It makes the season feel very inconsistent. This race had 2 practice sessions, this race had 3. One was 45 minutes long, the other was 60! Ack!
I just wish they'd instigate the change sometime before Laguna! I want my 60 minutes of bike pr0n back!

oh man, this is good news. granted teams will need to baby their motors a little more, but the removal of the extra practice i'm sure never saved any real money, and probably cost the teams more in the end (less time to tinker = more pressure = more likely something goes wrong in the other sessions)

So they're reducing the afternoon sessions to 45 minutes to give the riders a better idea of the morning conditions. But this will reduce their knowledge of the afternoon conditions when they actually have to race. Which idiot comes up with the rules?

A better idea would be two 30 minute morning practices and 1 hour afternoon practice and qualifying. Same track time, reduced chance of morning crashes, more sessions to work on the bike and more experience of race conditions (hopefully).

The rookies are the ones that are going to REALLY benefit from this. This gives them more time to analyze their data and determine what changes need to be made to go faster. It also gives them more time to think about what they have just experienced and what they need to do differently.

As I read this I couldn't wait to hear how they were planning to modify the engine rules, but alas, they are shortening all practice and qualifying sessions.

I highly doubt it will ever go back to 60 minutes b/c 45 minutes fits very neatly into a 1 hour slot for the TV people. Even at 45 minutes Dorna still have another session to sell to the networks.

So close, yet so far away. Oh well, I prefer 4 session + WUP to 3 sessions + WUP.

during race conditions. How many times have we heard riders/team members mention that data gathered during morning sessions are effectively irrelevant to the race set up--the bikes/electronics/ tires are just too sensitive to even moderate differences in track temperature. Not to mention that the failure to adjust the tire allotment effectively means that they'll burn though their 'softer' tire options on FP1 and have less on the rack for QP. I really hope that they reconsider this change.

I'm pleased to see this change.  I never understood how denying the fans a part of the show was ever considered a good idea. 

What a load. I hate that not even on race weekends there is some decent track time for the riders and fans to watch.

Really now, is 4 sessions of 45 minutes that much less expensive than 4 60 minute sessions? I'd like to see the figures on that please.

And don't try to tell me that that will save their engines. It they don't have enough engineering smarts to know how long they can run these engines then they should hire new engineers.

Who are these guys consulting with? Come out of your ivory towers and your corner penthouse suites and talk to the "small" people if you want some good ideas.