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MotoGP Japanese GP

Quartararo calls record 2024 MotoGP calendar length "the limit"

Fabio Quartararo believes the record 22-round length of the recently announced 2024 MotoGP calendar is "the limit" for the riders.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

The FIM announced on Wednesday that next year's calendar will take in 22 rounds beginning in Qatar on 10 March and finishing in Valencia on 17 November.

The new schedule features the return of the Aragon Grand Prix, which has been absent for 2023, as well as the second attempt at staging the Kazakhstan GP after it was cancelled this year.

With the new-for-2023 format featuring sprints, a number of riders have raised concerns about the added stress of a grand prix weekend.

"From my point of view, I think it's the limit," 2021 champion Quartararo said on Thursday at the Japanese GP.

"It's clearly the limit. But, the problem is it's not only 22 races – it's 22 sprints [also].

"Mentally, physically the weekend is totally different. You can see how many injuries there are this year. But already from Friday morning you have to be on the limit.

"Last year, more or less, you could start FP1 much easier, you make a time attack in FP2 and then in FP3 is where you really start to push yourself to the limit.

"With this schedule that we have, you are on the limit all the time.

"And this, for me, is the problem. Of course, more than 22 races I think is not possible because physically it's totally different than Formula 1. This is super important."

Eight-time world champion Marc Marquez echoed Quartararo's comments, while also noting that the increase in injuries in 2023 is directly linked to the amount of race starts there are now.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

"I completely agree with Fabio. In the end, 22 races are already a lot," he said.

"We are paid for it, but it's true there are not 22 races – there are 44 – because there are 44 race starts, and in the end the sprint races, it's not called a race, but it's a real race.

"If you check the ratio of injuries in this season, there are a lot, and most of the injuries are on the first laps of a sprint race or the first laps of the main race because we're taking more risks, where the riders are pushing more.

"With this new schedule, it's too much. With the other schedule it was OK.

"But in the end we need to get used to this schedule, but it's true – as Fabio says – it's quite demanding on the physical side. If you are tired, then you lose concentration.

"If you lose concentration, you have more chance to crash, more chance to make a mistake. We will need to manage in a good way all these things."

Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro wasn't as concerned about additional races in 2024, but is unhappy that the summer break is just three weeks next season as he feels riders need longer to recover mentally from the schedule.

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"It's Dorna's calendar. If I don't like it, I can decide to stay at home or do another job," Espargaro added.

"You have to race. Obviously, I would prefer less races, that's for sure. I would prefer no sprint races, but if they put 22, you have to race 22.

"The only thing I don't like is they promised us to have the break in the middle for four, five weeks. Not to go party in Ibiza, but because the weekends are super demanding now, a lot of injuries.

"So, with what happened to my brother [Pol, who was badly injured in Portugal], if you can split the championship in two to recover, to stay with your family, also for the condition of your head [it would be better].

"The stress is really high right now. To be able to disconnect is important for the safety now. And three weeks is not enough. For me, it's nothing. So, it's going to be tough."

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