Speaking at the VR46 launch, Luca Marini felt grand prix riders and team members in all classes “don’t earn enough” generally and that some Moto2 and Moto3 teams could finish the season with damaged bikes due to a lack of budget.

“But the only way to have this [extra] support is to try to promote a better show, for the TV, for the fans,” Marini said. “This is the only way to have more money.”

The specific topic of whether bonus money should be paid for the 21 new Saturday races has arisen since most rider contracts were signed before the half-distance Sprints, which will not count as grands prix but will award world championship points, were announced.

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Marini acknowledged the fun factor of having more races, saying “we want to race. It's incredible.” But doesn’t believe that should cancel out the fact that MotoGP is “our job, our life.”

“The [race weekend] format is changing but everybody is just saying, ‘OK riders, this is the new format. You earn the same money… because more races is more fun for you – yay! So just have fun',” he said.

That angle is also something Marini has heard from former riders.

“When you speak with old riders [they say]: ’In my time, if I had more races it would just be better’. And yeah, it's fantastic [for them] because they are not riding now!” he smiled.

“I’m not against them. I agree with them. For sure it’s more fun, also for us, because we want to race. It's incredible racing in MotoGP and more races is more fun. But it's also our job. It's our life. It's our sacrifices.

"You are a MotoGP rider 365 days of the year. You cannot have so much free time. You have a lot of stress. Also the effort of the new [Sprint] races will be unbelievable.”

Practice has been reduced to compensate for the Sprint races, meaning overall track time during each race weekend is unchanged. But the extra 'effort' of the Sprint means Marini feels the Sunday GP distance should be looked at.

“I know that in Superbike they make 3 races [each weekend], but they make the longest of [around] 20 laps, for example, while we make 27 laps and the last 7 laps are very long,” he said.

“So maybe we can also ask if this is possible, to try to reduce the [Sunday] laps.”

‘Maybe we will have 15 riders in a row for 10 laps’

The 25-year-old, younger brother of MotoGP’s biggest ever star Valentino Rossi, understands that Sprints are being brought in to liven up the Saturday show and is conscious of the need for all paddock members to contribute towards growing the sport.

“I know that now the important thing is try to have a better show for the fans, to have more money for the people who work in this paddock and for the riders. So we need to understand in which way we can be better on this side,” he said.

“We [need to] try to give a lot better show to the people, with overtakes, with different fights, with duels, because also it’s very important in sport to have two-three riders fighting each other in every race.”

While more races should mean more action for fans, Marini warned it might not be that simple since overtaking issues still need to be addressed.

“Also on the technical side we need to speak with Dorna and the Safety Commission because making overtakes is not so easy,” Marini explained.

“So I expect that also in the Sprint races, that is a ‘jungle’ where every rider wants to win and makes a little bit of chaos, it will be difficult [to overtake]

“Maybe we will have just 15 riders in a row for 10 laps, trying to do something. But in the end, if they don't do anything this is not a good show.”

Marini heads to this weekend's final 2023 pre-season test at Portimao looking to complete a clean sweep of the timesheets this winter, having topped both the Valencia (November) and Sepang (February) outings.

MotoGP’s revised weekend format then begins with round one, also at Portimao, on March 24-26.