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Practice reduced as MotoGP cuts costs

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha, Valencia practice 2008Practice time has been slashed and some electronic devices limited from the 2009 MotoGP season after the Grand Prix Commission ratified cost-cutting proposals today.

Friday morning practice has been cancelled for all three grand prix classes, and the remaining two MotoGP practice sessions plus qualifying have been shortened from one hour to 45 minutes. The 125cc and 250cc series will now have a sole qualifying session on a Saturday afternoon, with the former Friday qualifying sessions becoming practice.

Testing has been reduced too, with the regular post-race test days slimmed down to just two - at Catalunya and Brno. Only test riders will be allowed to run at these events.

Some technical changes have also been made, with electronic and hydraulic launch control systems, ceramic composite brakes, and electronic suspension systems all banned with immediate effect, and restrictions on engine use implemented for the latter part of the season.

For the eight rounds commencing with the Czech Grand Prix at Brno in August, each rider will be allowed to use no more than five engines in total.

The plans were submitted to motorcycle racing's governing body, the FIM, after being suggested by the MotoGP manufacturers during meetings in recent months.

Many in the sport have called for more radical cost-cutting measures to be taken from 2010, following the lead set by Formula One.

MotoGP costs have been in the spotlight since Kawasaki announced it was pulling its works team out of the championship. Efforts to keep the team in MotoGP as a private entry - and therefore maintain a 19-bike field - are ongoing.

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