Motegi MotoGP: Practice to revert back to one-hour format

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MotoGP bosses will sanction a return to the one-hour practice and qualifying format at this weekend’s Japanese GP at the Twin Ring Motegi, MCN can reveal.

The Grand Prix Commission is expected to pass the proposal in Japan this weekend and the two practice sessions and qualifying will be run over one hour from the Spanish GP in Jerez onwards.

But the likes of Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner will be limited on the number of laps they can complete in a session to help limit expensive engine mileage.

Practice and qualifying was slashed to 45-minutes from one hour for 2009 as part of a cost-cutting drive by the MotoGP paddock to counter the global economic crisis.

Friday morning practice was dropped off the schedule completely to save on engine mileage.

But after the first race in Qatar earlier this month, several MotoGP teams expressed concerns that the 45-minute sessions put too much pressure on mechanics and riders to make changes.

Factory Suzuki team boss Paul Denning told MCN: “I think it is wholly logical.

“We are trying to save money by limiting engine mileage, however it did really feel in 45 minutes in Qatar that you were trying to get a lot done and there was a lot of pressure on mechanics to make changes in a real quick time.

“From a media exposure point of view it will be better. And by putting a restriction on the number of laps, you won’t be adding to the engine mileage.”

The number of laps will be pre-specified for each individual circuit and calculated based on circuit length.

As yet, a penalty has not been decided should a rider overrun the number of laps permitted in a session.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt