2024 MotoGP calendar ‘better, less intense’, Sprints for all ‘principle’

Qatar’s request to move its season-opening MotoGP round plus the late arrival of India were among the factors for this year’s off-balance world championship calendar.
Francesco Bagnaia, MotoGP sprint race, French MotoGP, 13 May
Francesco Bagnaia, MotoGP sprint race, French MotoGP, 13 May

With Kazakhstan dropping off, July’s summer break will be held after round 8 of 20, leaving 12 Grands Prix during the second ‘half’.

MotoGP is currently in the middle of an unusual three-weekend ‘spring break’ but, assuming India makes the necessary homologation upgrades, there will be just two weekends off from September 24 until the Valencia finale on November 26, including two sets of triple headers.

The 2023 track activities will then conclude with the Valencia post-race test on Tuesday, November 28.

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“For sure this year’s calendar is not ideal, especially the end of the championship is going to be crazy! Everybody will be very tired. But I believe it will be better and less intense in 2024.” Tech3 team boss and IRTA president Herve Poncharal told Crash.net.

“Qatar asked not to be the opening round this year because of all the upgrades they wanted to make and also India came in late.”

The Lusail track has been moved to the penultimate round of this season but will regain its opening round status on March 8-10, 2024.

“The Qatar upgrades are going to be amazing,” Poncharal said. “Carmelo [Ezpeleta]who has visited told me it's going to be a fantastic facility.

“The layout itself will not change, everybody likes the layout, Formula One and MotoGP. But the paddock and all around the circuit, including the gravel traps, will be different.”

Francesco Bagnaia, Marc Marquez, Luca Marini, MotoGP, French MotoGP, 13 May
Francesco Bagnaia, Marc Marquez, Luca Marini, MotoGP, French MotoGP, 13 May

The intensity of the grand prix schedule during the second part of this season is magnified by the revised race weekend format, now featuring a Sprint race on Saturday afternoon.

Poncharal said that the new format will be evaluated at the end of the season.

“We will listen to the riders, who are our heroes, and at the end of the year, we will talk about the race weekend format. Is it good? Is it bad? Can we do it better? What is everybody’s opinion: Promoters, riders, factories, teams… Carmelo is always open to talk.”

But one 'principle' that is unlikely to change is that - unlike F1 - MotoGP hosts a Sprint race at every grand prix.

“Some people say we should have been like Formula One, a Sprint race not at every round,” said Poncharal.

“Carmelo's position and I share that position is that if you gave the Sprint race to Portugal and don't give it to Silverstone, for example, the British Grand Prix will say, 'why don’t we have it?' And the fans will ask, 'why does your MotoGP ticket include a Sprint race but mine doesn’t?'

“So the principle, and I agree, is that each grand prix is as important as all the others. You have the same format and the same amount of points. Every grand prix is on the same level.”

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