Logistic headache forces MotoGP to alter Japan GP schedule
The return of the Japanese GP to Motegi on September 23-25 for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was always expected to cause a logistical headache due to its positioning of the calendar as a back-to-back with Aragon in Spain.
However, the outbreak of the Russian war in Ukraine and the effect this had on the availability of cargo planes posed another potential problem.
MotoGP was forced to abandon Friday’s race at the Argentine Grand Prix as technical problems with one of its chartered cargo planes led to several teams blocking cargo in Kenya as it was flown in from Indonesia – with the worldwide shortage of cargo planes due to the war. partly responsible for the delay.
As a result of all this, the governing body FIM, the IRTA Teams Association and Dorna Sports have taken the decision to scrap the Friday morning race at Motegi.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team leads at the start
Photo by: Gold and Goose/Motorsport Images
Instead, FP1 will take place in the afternoon, with Saturday’s FP3 replaced by FP2 – the combined order from which will determine qualifying groups.
MotoGP FP1 will also be extended from 45 minutes to 75 minutes, while Moto2 and Moto3 practice session times will be increased to 40 minutes.
A statement from Dorna read: “The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports are obliged to announce changes to the Friday schedule at the Japanese Grand Prix.
“Due to the logistical challenges posed by the Grand Prix being held in parallel with the Aragon Grand Prix, as well as potential delays caused by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and its effects on airspace, it has been decided not to no racing Practice sessions for the grand prix classes – MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 – on Friday morning.
“Instead, Moto3 FP1 will start at 1:15 p.m. local time (5:15 a.m. BST), Moto2 at 2:10 p.m. and MotoGP at 3:05 p.m.
“This unique MotoGP™ FP1 session which will now take place on Friday afternoon has been extended from 45 to 75 minutes.
“The time extension is only for the premier class.
“The combined results for entry into Q1 and Q2 will be drawn from FP1 and FP2 for all Grand Prix classes.”
It’s not the first time Friday’s race at a Japanese GP has been affected, with testing for the 2013 edition having had to be scrapped due to bad weather.
The Japanese GP will be followed by the Thailand GP the following week.