And that was without Saturday afternoon Sprint races being added to the 2023 season.

Nevertheless, the German believes Sprints, which will raise the number of races to 42 this year, will make the MotoGP show ‘stronger, bigger and better’.

“Our wish for the perfect calendar we see as around 18 races, not 21,” Beirer said. “But we signed a contract with [a maximum of] 22 so we cannot complain that we are doing 21 races.

Exclusive: “2023 is my year” - Jake Dixon on Moto2 Title Quest, Fabio Friendship and F1 Dreams |

“But I feel this maximum number [22] that all the manufacturers signed in their contract with Dorna is definitely a maximum.

“Because it’s a limit for the staff, having them away from their families. Apart from 22 races, you also need to test and build-up a motorcycle, get ready for the new season and get all around the world.

“We feel 22 is the absolute limit so we will not support going over the limit written in our contract.”

The current contract between the factories and Dorna runs from 2022-2026.

The MotoGP calendar had peaked at 18 rounds until the 2019 season, when it reached 19. It then dropped to 14 in 2020 due to Covid, before climbing back to 18 in 2021 followed by a new high of 20 last season.

The proposed 21-round line-up for this season has been created by the introduction of new events in Kazakhstan and India, but the removal of Aragon.

Sprints make MotoGP ‘bigger and better’, but some ‘critical voices’

While backing the introduction of Sprint races ‘as a MotoGP fan’, Beirer admits they will put riders and teams under additional pressure.

“A race is not a one-lap qualifying,” Beirer said. “Saturday will much more intense for the whole paddock. There will be much more pressure for the whole crew and, of course, the riders.

“Because it doesn’t matter if it is half-distance or full-distance: a race is a race.

“So the pressure is bigger and you cannot compromise on the material because you know it needs to go for a race [distance] and not just for one lap. It will mean different bike preparation. From that side, for sure the effort in the paddock is bigger.

“But on the other side., I am a MotoGP fan and being there Saturday and watching a race will be a much bigger show. For our fans, our spectators and the people watching at home on TV, I think it is an important step and going to make the show stronger, bigger and better.

“But also we have to see after a couple of races how it will affect us. I mean, there are also critical voices, that riders will crash and we will lose riders through injury on Saturdays…

“I think we just have to do it. You cannot talk about it in theory. You need to do it, watch it, and see the outcome. But I’m excited because it will make our MotoGP show bigger and better.”

Despite such challenges, Beirer explained that adding Sprint races is very different to a whole new grand prix weekend.

“You cannot compare. If you add five GPs it would be a much bigger impact than adding races every Saturday,” he said. “You cannot compare that load because [with Sprints] we are all there, the bikes are there, the riders are there and now we all do that ten-lap race on a Saturday afternoon.

“Travelling to a new country, for a new GP; that is the real effort because that’s when you really exhaust people. It’s clear to us and there is a commitment between us and Dorna that there is a limit [22 races].

“Of course, doubling the number of races [with Sprints] will be an impact on the paddock and we need to do some races to understand how big it is. In all fairness, I have to say that our motocross boys also do 22 GPs with a race on Saturday and two heats on Sunday afternoon.

“So I don’t think it is the end of world for us to race also on Saturday.”

‘Sunday is showtime' - Jack Miller will still do the triple!

Despite Beirer’s earlier admission that ‘a race is a race’, he is happy that victory in the Sprint will not count as a Grand Prix win.

“I’m good with that. Sunday is showtime and that is the GP winner and Saturday is part of our weekend: you get some benefit for it, you get some points for it but the GP winner is Sunday,” he said,

When it was pointed out that new KTM signing Jack Miller is seeking to become the first rider in history to win MotoGP races on three different brands of bike, a feat that would be easier if Saturdays counted, Beirer smiled:

“Jack will be a GP winner on three different bikes also if it only counts on Sunday! If you see him, you can tell him this!”