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Friday format on MotoGP weekends to be tweaked for 2024

Following a meeting between riders and organisers on Thursday ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix, the MotoGP weekend format surrounding qualifying will be tweaked for 2024.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

The 2023 MotoGP season ushered in one of the biggest format changes in the series' history, as half-distance sprint races were added to the schedule at every round.

As such, the entire makeup of a race weekend was altered to suit, with qualifying taking place on Saturday morning and deciding the grid for both the sprint and the grand prix.

Another major change was made to Friday's running, with the combined order at the end of FP2 deciding which riders advance straight through to Q2 in qualifying and who has to face the elimination Q1 session.

This has turned the latter stages of both practices, but particularly FP2, into mini qualifying sessions in their own right as a greater emphasis on starting position has come about in recent years as bikes have become harder to race.

While this change to the format has made Friday running on grands prix weekends much more important, a number of riders have complained that it is stopping them from being able to properly work on their bikes.

Jack Miller, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Jack Miller, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

In an extraordinary meeting that took place this Thursday at Assen, the parties involved in the MotoGP World Championship agreed on a modification in the weekend format with a view to next season, which will make the cut-off between the riders contesting Q1 and Q2 come out only from the second free practice on Friday.

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The rest of the weekend format will remain the same in 2024, with a 30-minute FP3 preceding qualifying on Saturdays.

At first, the possibility of implementing this change this year was considered, but the lack of unanimity among the members of the manufacturers' association (MSMA) caused the measure to be postponed until 2024.

The new format has given a good shake-up to the weekends of the premier class.

At first, some riders complained of an increase in aggressiveness, especially in the early stages of the sprint races on Saturdays. However, with the passage of time, these critical voices have faded away.

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