Riders unsure about practice changes

Leading MotoGP riders have given cautious support to the revised practice schedule that the FIM has introduced from this weekend's French Grand Prix

Riders unsure about practice changes

As part of this year's package of cost cutting rule changes, Friday morning practice was removed this season and the other practice sessions and qualifying reduced to 45 minutes.

This frustrated the riders, who felt they required more track time to be properly prepared for the races. But the FIM rejected the riders' calls for the Friday morning session to be reinstated and instead restored Friday afternoon and Saturday morning practice plus the qualifying session to the previous one-hour format.

World champion Valentino Rossi said the new schedule was a definite step in the right direction.

"With 15 minutes extra every practice it's possible to work on the bike with a bit more time during practice," said the world champion. "I think it's positive, and all the riders are happy."

But Casey Stoner was less positive about the new schedule, pointing out that having a smaller number of sessions increased the likelihood of weather delays, whatever the length of the session.

"It's definitely not enough, but I think it's going to give all of us a bit more time to make changes during the session," said the 2007 champion. "Because of the weather this year sessions have been cancelled or rained on and it's been very difficult to get the setting that we need."

However he is optimistic that the increase in race weekend track time will make the front of the field more competitive.

"I think this weekend we'll have a little bit more time in the garage to really make the right choices and hopefully go back out with the set-up that we want," said Stoner. "Hopefully there will be a lot more people running towards the front."

By contrast, Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards was so confident in his Yamaha's base set-up that he suggested a one-day grand prix weekend.

"Let's just have the warm-up and then race!" the American joked. "We've got our bike pretty sorted out. We show up and everything just seems to work off the bat, so I think Yamaha would have an advantage if everyone just turned up on Sunday..."

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