MotoGP winter testing schedule cut

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The switch to a single tyre rule and the global credit crunch has seen the 2009 MotoGP winter testing schedule dramatically cut down.

The traditional test opening in Sepang in late January has been cancelled, as has an early February visit to the Phillip Island circuit in Australia.

The new winter testing calendar was agreed during last weekend’s Valencia GP, with the reduction finalised because the single tyre rule means teams and riders no longer need to dedicate so much time to tyre development.

The worldwide economic crisis is also starting to bite in MotoGP, with teams looking to reduce costs.

A scheduled three-day test session in Jerez at the end of November has been cut down to two days and will now take place on November 26 and 27.

The normal winter testing ban remains in place from December 1 to January, 20, but there will only be three 2009 tests before the first race under floodlights in Qatar on April 12.

A three-day test will be held in Sepang, Malaysia on February 5-7, before another long break to a night test in Qatar on March 1-3. The pre-season finishes in Jerez, though the normal season curtain-raiser in Jerez has been reduced from three to two days on March 28-29.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt