The move to drop Friday morning practice - introduced for the 2009 season as a cost-cutting measure - has never been popular among either riders or fans. The riders and teams feel they are wasting their time, sitting around on Friday morning kicking their heels waiting for the afternoon session to kick off, and the fans miss out on an opportunity to watch the bikes out on track. Rookies, such as Interwetten Honda's Hiroshi Aoyama and his crew chief Tom Jojic, also lamented the lack of an extra session of practice, as the time between the sessions allowed the riders and their crews to go over the data collected.
In response to these criticisms, the Grand Prix Commission decided to experiment with a change from three one-hour practice sessions to four forty-five-minute sessions, extending the number of sessions on the track while leaving the amount of track time - and therefore the possible mileage - unchanged. The Aragon MotoGP round was chosen to stage this experiment, as Aragon was the only track which did not already have a list of supporting events which would need to be rescheduled. And so at Aragon, each of the classes will go out for four, shorter sessions of practice starting on Friday morning, rather than the three they have run at other events.
The organizers have also seized the opportunity to experiment with another oft-requested change. Throughout the season, MotoGP riders and team managers have complained that the track surface feels different on race day to the way it felt during practice. The finger of blame for this has been pointed at the Moto2 class: with 40+ four-stroke bikes circulating on big tires, the class seems to lay down a layer of oil and rubber during the race that changes the nature of the track. During practice, MotoGP has always followed the 125cc class - 30 lightweight two-stroke singles on skinny tires - but on race day, the main class immediately follows the Moto2 race.
Several prominent figures - most vocal of whom has been Jorge Lorenzo's manager Wilco Zeelenberg - have been asking Dorna and IRTA to change the schedule around so that MotoGP always follows Moto2, so that the MotoGP bikes get a chance to practice on the surface they will be racing on. And at Aragon, the order of practice has also been changed, with the Moto2 class and 125cc classes being switched around, Moto2 going first, before the MotoGP class, with the 125s following after. The hope is that the conditions in practice for the MotoGP bikes will be much more like the conditions on race day. If this experiment is a success, the changed order could easily be continued for the rest of the year, and the order the classes go out in reshuffled at the remaining MotoGP rounds.
The new, revised schedule for the Aragon MotoGP round is shown below:
|FRIDAY, 17 SEPTEMBER 2010|
|09:05-09:45||Moto2||Free Practice 1|
|10:05-10:50||MotoGP||Free Practice 1|
|11:10-11:50||125cc||Free Practice 1|
|13:05-13:45||Moto2||Free Practice 2|
|14:05-14:50||MotoGP||Free Practice 2|
|15:10-15:50||125cc||Free Practice 2|
|SATURDAY, 18 SEPTEMBER 2010|
|09:05-09:45||Moto2||Free Practice 3|
|10:05-10:50||MotoGP||Free Practice 3|
|11:10-11:50||125cc||Free Practice 3|
|12:00-12:45||VIP Village Pit Lane Walk|
|17:00||Qualifying Press Conference|
|SUNDAY, 19 SEPTEMBER 2010|
|10:05-10:35||VIP Village Pit Lane Walk|
|11:00||125cc||Race (19 laps)|
|12:15||Moto2||Race (21 laps)|
|14:00||MotoGP||Race (23 laps)|