Back in January at the Wrooom Ducati launch, it was announced by Carmelo Ezpeleta that MotoGP Qualifying would operate under a different format of rules for 2013. Moto2 and Moto3 will remain under the regular format, with just the premier class having to learn the new system.
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The new system works like this, the three regular Free Practice sessions remain almost unchanged from their two Friday slots (Thursday at Assen) and the Saturday morning session (Friday…Assen) but the times will now actually count towards Qualifying ‘That’s not strictly ‘free practice’ then!’ we here you say…and you’d be right, no it’s not. The times now set in these sessions dictate whether the rider participates in the heavily revised system of Q1 or Q2.
The two fastest riders of Q1 will progress to Q2 with those 12 riders then having just 15 minutes to post a time good enough to challenge for Pole Position, with the remaining grid positions from 13th upwards made by those riders who didn’t progress from Q1, according to their times. It’s going to make for really exciting qualifying rather than the traditional 35 minutes of setting the bike up coupled with a frantic final ten minutes…now we have a frantic fifteen minutes and that’s no a bad thing, I’m sure you’ll agree.
In the interests of fairness and not losing any track time over the old system, there is to be a fourth free practice session of 30 minutes for all riders, this will be sandwiched between the two QP sessions to accomodate any extra setting up of the bike for either Q1 or race day. That also means that the two fastest riders from Q1 actually get 15 minutess more track time than the rest of the field and can take advantage of the whole hour of track time, a valuable bonus indeed.
So basically to recap, Qualifying now lasts the full hour rather than the traditional 45 minutes, it has been revised to make two really exciting 15 minute sessions with a 30 minute breather for set-up tweaks in between, we think its a great idea and look forward to seeing how it develops in Qatar.