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MotoGP Indian GP

First India MotoGP race to be shortened due to intense heat

MotoGP has decided to reduce the length of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix due to extreme temperatures at the Buddh International Circuit this weekend.

Augusto Fernandez, Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing

Sunday's grand prix will now feature three fewer laps than planned, while the sprint race that is set to take place this afternoon has been cut by a lap.

MotoGP riders got to sample the Hermann Tilke-designed Buddh circuit for the first time Friday, with two extended 70-minute practice sessions helping them get accustomed to the venue.

While riders were unanimous in praise of the layout, hailing the technical challenge and the variety of corners the circuit has to offer, the intense heat in Delhi made it physically demanding to complete long stints.

Many felt the conditions were worse than what they experience in some Asian venues such as Sepang and Buriram, with Ducati's Francesco Bagnaia saying "you feel like you are burning on the back straight, you start to feel you throat burning, your legs burning."

After second practice, riders expressed their concern to race control, who felt that action needed to be taken on account of safety grounds.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Srinivasa Krishnan

It was decided that the distance for both the sprint and the grand prix itself will be cut, with Saturday's short-duration race now running to 11 laps instead of 12 and the main race now taking place over 21 laps as opposed to 24.

Although the peak summer season in northern India is over, the temperature is still expected to reach 37C in the circuit area at the start of the sprint race at 3:30pm local time. Incidentally, the temperature will be at the highest point of the day when the sprint race takes place.

The circuit is also expected to record humidity levels as high as 92% on Saturday, which will add to the heat and make the race even harder for the riders.

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