MotoGP: New Qualifying Format for 2013

10/15/2012 @ 1:26 am, by David Emmett11 COMMENTS

Qualifying for the MotoGP class is to undergo a shake-up starting from next year. Instead of the current one-hour qualifying format, two sessions of 15 minutes will settle the starting grid, with the riders divided into two groups on the basis of their combined times through the three sessions of free practice.

The new system is a hybrid of the current system and the superpole format used by World Superbikes and Formula One. An intial selection will be made on the basis of the combined times of the first three sessions of free practice, with the 10 fastest riders going straight through to QP2, with the rest left to fight it out in QP1.

The 2 fastest riders in the 15-minute QP1 session will go through to QP2. The original 10 fastest from free practice will be joined by the 2 fastest from QP1 to fight it out for the top 12 grid positions in the 15-minute QP2 session. To compensate for the shortened qualifying sessions, a 30-minute-long fourth session of free practice will added before qualifying starts.

The idea, put before the riders at the last race in Aragon, is to spice qualifying up a little. It codifies the current situation, in which the riders spend the first 40 minutes of the hour-long qualifying session working on set up, before pushing for a grid position in the last 15 minutes or so.

It takes the current practice and pours into a more TV-friendly format, with the set up work to be left for FP4, while the intensity of the last 15 minutes of qualifying is distilled into QP1 and QP2.

The splitting of the two sessions also cuts back the number of riders on track at the same time during the hectic push for a fast time. With between 22 and 24 riders expected in the MotoGP class in 2013, each session will contain some 12 riders. The format also allows a rider with problems during free practice to advance to QP2 by giving them a chance to shoot for the top 2 times in QP1.

The downside of the change is that it will impact on TV coverage of qualifying for the Moto3 and Moto2 classes. The entire period containing FP4, QP1 and QP2 is now 80 minutes long, instead of just an hour. That leaves less time for Moto2 and Moto3, though there are no proposals to shorten qualifying for the support classes.

A possible solution could be for FP4 for the MotoGP class to be run prior to qualifying for Moto3, though it is unknown whether this is currently under consideration.

The meeting of the Grand Prix Commission, in which the qualifying changes were announced, also contains a revised definition of MotoGP’s calendar year. But what it doesn’t contain is any word of the 2014 regulations, the introduction of a standard ECU and a rev limit. The future of MotoGP remains on hold. That situation cannot be allowed to last for long.

Photo: Ducati Corse

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

  • Stevenk27

    No wonder Stoner is leaving. You look at F1 and WSBK and its the same few riders/drivers fighting for pole with 1 or 2 surprises depending on who makes a mistake. There was nothing wrong with the current setup, if its not broken why fix it!!

  • shallwedance?


  • Damo


    As opposed to MotoGP where we only have three people fighting for pole position this year? We also only had three different race winners as well.

    I think WSBK is a bit more interesting in that department at least.

  • smiler

    Well no surprise there. Make it the same format, make Motogp more like WSB, then WSb starts to fade. Especially with the CRT’s, which when you look at this it starts to make more sense. Because in isolation just as part of MotoGP, CRT’s make no sense. But as a tool to undermine WSB they make sense. I really hope Flammini and the manufacturers fight back here.

  • Jake

    WSBK Super Pole is so much more interesting to watch than the 50 minutes of non-exciting qualifying setup that happens in GP followed by 5 minutes of actual hotlapping. There will still be a nice exciting push at the end of Q2 and less people like Stoner getting pissed at people ruining their fast laps. It’s a Win win for the riders and the people watching. Leave it to MotoGP fans to think every change sucks. The current system is broken and uninteresting BUT DON’T CHANGE ANYTHING.

  • TexusTim

    I Like It ! it will make for some excitement and lots of strategy by teams and riders and will allow for some different results.
    it is really no surprise that over time we will see the two series come into one….crt vs wsbk… bikes are very close and will start to look more like the same bike in the next two years. I give wsbk 2 to 4 years less if the economy tanks again. sorry but it might have to happen and will make moto gp have a lot more reslence to the economy…sponsors will have more to choose from, more riders from different countries will make spectator turnout better for the track owners.
    really it would cause all the factories to compete at the same venue wouldnt that be cool ?.

  • Nick

    Stevenk27 says:

    “You look at F1 and WSBK and its the same few riders/drivers fighting for pole with 1 or 2 surprises depending on who makes a mistake.”

    – Hmm, FALSE. And even if you were right Moto GP doesn’t?

    As to the TV coverage – could they work on that? As in maybe actually having coverage of more than just the race. Excuse me, if we’re talking about SPEED then 1/3 Race 2/3 Commercials and Poorly timed replays while real racing is going on. When does the US ever get to see quallys or Moto 3 on TV, I’ve never seen this nor am I interested in paying $XXXXXX per year to buy an online membership. I’m all for the change but how are they so concerned with boring coverage if the current TV coverage is next to nill? Hey we’re fans here, remember us?

  • TexusTim

    Nick and steve,,speed shows qualifing in both us rounds you just have to go to moto gp click your time zone then you will know when qulifying is and you can set your dvr or just watch it live.
    soon we may get all qualifyiing rounds on tv here like everywere else.
    Dorna should just buy speed then they can homologate it also.

  • TexusTim

    thay couldnt screw it up any worse thats for sure just ask “LORENTHO” bawawawawahahah !

  • “You look at F1 and WSBK and its the same few riders/drivers fighting for pole with 1 or 2 surprises depending on who makes a mistake.”

    In F1, there have been 7 different polesitters over 16 rounds. Frankly, F1 has enjoyed the best qualifying and racing in 2012 that I can remember in many, many years.

    Anyway, I’m not sure that I’m keen on this format. I agree that the usual 60 minutes has been less than enthralling, and I dearly love the F1-style QP1, QP2 and QP3 eliminations. We’ll see how well the new formula works for 2013. Based on the description of it, I’m not so sure it’ll be a winner.

  • Eskimo

    “In F1, there have been 7 different polesitters over 16 rounds. Frankly, F1 has enjoyed the best qualifying and racing in 2012 that I can remember in many, many years.”

    Agreed, 100%.