Talking point: MXGP format – changes needed or not?

There’s been a lot of noise around the MXGP World Championship this year on a number of different topics including low rider entries and the current format. As we have already covered our thoughts on the low rider entries, we will now take a look at the current format and discuss if changes are needed moving forward. 

The past two years due to COVID-19 the series ran a one-day format but for the 2022 season, Infront Moto Racing have reintroduced the two day format back to the series. The reasoning for this is because they want to attract as many fans as possible on a Saturday – understandable. 

What do the riders think about the two-day format? Throughout the year, we have asked a number of riders their thoughts on it… 

Tim Gajser: I really like that we have the two-day format back and it’s rougher than it was for the past two years when we just had one day of riding. The first moto was always like a flat track and I also like that they didn’t touch the track from Saturday to Sunday. Already first moto so many deep ruts, you really had to look for the lines, the track was really technical. Hopefully they are going to keep making tracks safe and rough.

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Kevin Horgmo: For sure, I prefer the two days. Maybe the qualifying race is a little bit extra risk but for me it was good to get a lot of sessions and get out on track a few more times than only three times. It is quite hectic with the one-day format so yeah, I really enjoy the two-day format.

Stephen Rubini: I really like the two-day format because like I said earlier, Saturday we could progress a lot with the bike which we weren’t able to do last year. Overall, I think it is better because each day is different and the track is changing all day. With two days we can change things, try things and get better, it’s better to have more time for that. I think it allows for better races also.

Jed Beaton: I mean in one way it’s a good thing for more track time and setting up the bike a little bit. On the other hand it is a lot of riding so it’s a win-lose situation. It’s nice to do so much riding but also on race day you wake up a little bit stiff.

Pic: Kawasaki

It appears the problem isn’t actually the two-day format but the riders aren’t a fan of the qualifying race as it’s seen as an extra risk. It’s completely understandable why riders view this race as unnecessary but at the same time you can see why Infront Moto Racing have decided to implement it.

Fans go the GP’s to see racing and a qualifying race certainly provides more entertainment than timed practice for qualifying. For anyone that does prefer to see riders go flat out over one lap to clock a good time, timed practice is still a session so from Infront Moto Racing’s point of view they have the best of both worlds. 

However, is a compromise needed? The riders would definitely prefer two sessions on a Saturday – free practice and timed practice with the lap times from timed practice deciding the gate pick for the main races on Sunday.

Another option is having qualifying similar to F1 and MotoGP with three different sessions and at the end of each session having riders drop out. Q3 you could have around ten riders battling it out for the top ten of qualifying. It depends what you are into as a fan and everyone has different opinions on that one. 

Something that could be looked at is still having an MX2 and MXGP race at the end of Saturday but awarding points. There are a few different options when it comes to awarding points, you could keep it as a qualifying race (20 minutes plus two laps) and awards points to the top five or top ten. 

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  • Option One: Award points to the top five in the qualifying race.
    • First = 5 points 
    • Second = 4 points 
    • Third = 3 points 
    • Fourth = 2 points 
    • Fifth = 1 point 
  • Option Two: Award points to the top ten in the qualifying race.
    • First = 10 points 
    • Second = 9 points 
    • Third = 8 points 
    • Fourth = 7 points
    • Fifth = 6 points 
    • Sixth = 5 points 
    • Seventh = 4 points 
    • Eighth = 3 points 
    • Ninth = 2 points 
    • Tenth = 1 point

Another option and perhaps this might be the most controversial but why not make the MX2 and MXGP qualifying races the first moto of the weekend? Keeping the same Sunday format this would mean a format change of three moto’s each Grand Prix. Timed Practice could then be used as the main qualifying session. A three moto format has also been used back in the 90’s. 

The problem with this might be the riders could see it as to much racing but they are already racing the qualifying race anyway and the only difference would be the race on Saturday would be ten minutes longer. Although the intensity would be increased as a result too – could it lead to extra injuries? Perhaps with a three moto format in place the calendar could be limited to 17 or 18 rounds a season instead of 20. 

Pic: MXGP/Infront Moto Racing

The ADAC MX Masters championship in Germany actually already run a three moto format with one race on Saturday followed by two on Sunday with each moto 25 minutes plus two laps. With MXGP being the world championship it should probably keep the 30 minutes plus two laps – in the past they were 35 minutes so have already changed. 

Any riders that contest the ADAC MX Masters in Germany are always positive about the series and usually don’t have an issue with the format. Although they might view it differently because they pay prize money and that might be the bigger issue for Infront Moto Racing – it is viewed differently because they don’t offer prize money and perhaps if they did, the riders would be more open to the current format. 

David Luongo (CEO of Infront Moto Racing) recently told us, “The qualifying races are extremely important for fans and local organizers, and they will stay”, so perhaps we shouldn’t expect any major changes and the format might even stay the same for the 2023 season but let’s see what the future holds. 

With rumours there’s going to be six fly away Grand Prix’s in 2023 and with the rider entries for Indonesia being low this weekend – this might be more concerning for the future than the current format. Going forward will team’s get more support to get to the fly away events and if not, why go? Ten regular MX2 GP riders isn’t a good look but hopefully in the future plans will be made to avoid these issues. 

Article: Andy McKinstry 

Pic: MXGP/Infront Moto Racing