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MotoGP sprint races will be ‘physically demanding’ – Alex Marquez

Gresini MotoGP rider Alex Marquez says this season’s new sprint races will be “quite demanding” physically as they will be “full gas from the beginning”.

Alex Marquez, Gresini Racing

As part of a major shake-up to the race weekend format for 2023, MotoGP will run sprint contests on the Saturday of every grand prix weekend.

These sprint races will run to half distance of the main grand prix and will be worth a maximum of 12 points, with qualifying deciding the grid for both events.

At the recent Portugal MotoGP pre-season test, riders used the final day to practice sprint race simulations, which revealed some of the physicality that will be needed for them when the season starts next weekend.

Marquez notes that the “mentality will be quite different” for the sprint race, but expects he has a bike in the Ducati to be able to “enjoy” them this year.

“I was trying to push at the maximum from the beginning to see how the rear tyre was going down, and just trying to keep the rhythm,” Marquez said of his sprint race simulation in the Portugal test.

“[It feels] not bad. I think I pushed the rear tyre a little bit too much in the beginning, but it was already in the plan to see how the rest was.

“The sprint races will be full gas from the beginning to the end. In a long race you need to adapt a bit more, change your riding style and this sprint race is just go.

“So, physically it’s quite demanding because you need to push a lot.

Alex Marquez, Gresini Racing

Alex Marquez, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“Mentality will be quite different, because normally when you finish race it’s like [you go] on your holidays [afterwards].

“So, Saturday will be important to not be too enthusiastic if you have a good sprint race and focus on Sunday.

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“But I mean we will try to enjoy it. We have the bike to enjoy the sprint race, because as we know the Ducati is really fast on time attack. So, the sprint race will be good for us I think.”

The 2023 MotoGP season begins on the weekend of 24-26 March at the Algarve International Circuit.

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