WORDS BY ADAM PROUD | IMAGES BY RED BULL
It’s the first major shake-up to the MotoGP format in years, sprint races are coming to the premier class of motorcycle racing for 2023.
But unlike F1’s recent test of the format, MotoGP will be holding a sprint race at every event on the calendar, not just select ones.
And at a time where viewership numbers and fan attendances are dropping, this is a good way of re-promoting a sport which offers a great spectacle of racing.
Yet, like MotoGP’s other current problems, this solution also brings its flaws.
Sprint races are good in theory yes, I for one have been a big fan of F1’s sprint format. But that’s because it isn’t at every race, which would lead to the addition becoming a little too overused and saturated.
Having a sprint race every weekend may bring this to the surface once 2023 comes around. At first it might bring quite a large element of excitement because it’s completely new, but as the year goes on will it really bring more fans back?
A multi-race format in other series works, but for instance in championships like World Superbikes, this has been the norm for years.
But with MotoGP, there’s every chance having two races at every round is not something that everyone wants to see. There’s the chance it will become just a bit too bland to really offer anything by the final round of the year.
Which brings along the next problem, rider fatigue.
The MotoGP calendar is continuously growing, and each round has a very busy schedule. Fitting an additional session where you need to be flat out will take its toll on riders.
It’s these riders who have also raised their concerns, and anger, over the new format. They were left out of discussions on how to format sprint races and were only told of the announcement by the media, rather than MotoGP themselves.
It’s a very good idea to bring an element of freshness to the championship, but I fear MotoGP is tripping over itself.
A shake up shows a positive sign, for sure. It shows the championship is proactively doing something to address the gaping hole of fans that has become apparent this year. But if it is going to be a success, it needs to be done right.
And as the past few days have played out since the announcement, this has not yet been the case.