MotoGP riders have been split over the plans to potentially expand the race calendar to 22 races from 2022, with a compromise of fewer tests across a season.

During the San Marino MotoGP weekend, Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta confirmed the maximum number of races will be expanded to 22 races from 2022. Next season the 2020 MotoGP race calendar will hit its current limit of 20 races with the addition of the Finnish round at KymiRing.

But with rumours linking Portugal to a return to the MotoGP calendar, along with a number of new South East Asian races being assessed including an Indonesia round set to host the sport in 2021, the calendar increase looks set to reach the maximum number confirmed by the sport’s bosses in 2022.

Quizzed on their reaction to the news, the calendar growth plans were met with a mixed reaction from the riders.

Monster Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales expects a compromise through a reduction to six days of official MotoGP testing, effectively cutting down to two three-day pre-season tests, to keep the balance of total number of days for teams and riders to be in action in order.

“At least the tests have to be less,” Vinales said. “Okay we will have more races that is right but we have to rest a little bit. Race, race, race, race and then the body doesn’t rest so it is always difficult. I like to race a lot so for me more races are okay but less testing will be good.

“It will be the same for everyone so we have to deal with it, we have to deal with it and we have to learn. If we have to make quick changes in races then we need to deal with those changes.

“But anyway, with six days of testing it is a lot of laps. If you do nearly 60 per day that is a lot, if you make a good plan then you can work really hard.”

Red Bull KTM’s Pol Espargaro felt people who work in MotoGP and also have family commitments must be considered and while he accepts more races is positive for all aspects of the sport he feels admits he is split by the plans.

“Not just for us but for all the families working here for all the races which means more races and more days outside of home,” Espargaro said. “Nobody wants that but we are working and more races means more people can see us which is good.

“If I need to answer you for sure I want more time at home, but if I need to answer my boss I say I need more testing!”

Espargaro also felt KTM wouldn’t want to cut down its total test days as a result of more races as it would impact its own development plans as it looks to close the performance deficit to the front-running MotoGP manufacturers.

“KTM are not in a position to say we want less tests as we need the tests,” he said. “Every time we do the tests, you’ve seen what we have done here with the two-day test here at Misano. We need that test for sure.

“If I need to vote I will vote to continue to test as we are not in the position of Honda, Yamaha or Ducati that they have a lot of info so we need to keep testing but it is a reality that we will spend a lot of time outside of home.”

MotoGP rookie Fabio Quartararo says with fewer family commitments compared to many of his older rivals he would fully embrace the race calendar expansion while keeping the same number of test days.

“Honestly for me it is not a problem,” Quartararo said. “I love riding these bikes and it is what I love to do more than anything in my life, riding this bike, all the time in testing, FP1, qualifying and warm-up.

“I am enjoying it like a kid so for me they can put 22 races with the same amount of testing.”

 

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