When the cost-saving measures were passed down this year for MotoGP, it reduced the time riders could lap around the track during practice sessions from one hour to 45 minutes. When the rule was put into practice for the first time at Qatar, the reduced practice time came under a lot of criticism from teams, who found themselves scrambling to setup bikes properly, and making bad decisions. Thus based on the feedback they received, the Grand Prix Commission is due to meet prior to the Motegi Grand Prix in Japan, where they are expected to restore the sessions back to their one hour format again.
The measure is going through so riders will have more time to get the bikes sorted out, since the shorter session put huge pressure on the teams and riders to hurry through changes to settings, without enough time to think them through properly. However, in order to maintain the rule change’s purpose of cutting costs, a limit on how many lap can be taken during practice session will be imposed. Thus ensuring that more time does not equal more laps. The number of laps will be determined on a per track basis.
Commenting on the return to the hour format, Factory Suzuki team boss Paul Denning was quoted saying:
“I think it is wholly logical. We are trying to save money by limiting engine mileage, however it did really feel in 45 minutes in Qatar that you were trying to get a lot done and there was a lot of pressure on mechanics to make changes in a real quick time. From a media exposure point of view it will be better. And by putting a restriction on the number of laps, you won’t be adding to the engine mileage.”