The divide that could mar MotoGP’s sprint race revolution in 2023

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MotoGP will make its most radical grand prix weekend format change in decades when the 2023 season kicks off this month with the introduction of sprint races.

Announced last year, MotoGP will implement half-distance sprint races to the grand prix schedule on the Saturday of every round of the 2023 season.

That means there will be a total of 42 races across the campaign – which will be the longest in the series’ history – when accounting for both sprints and the main Sunday contest.

This move was already shrouded in controversy when riders were first made aware that it was definitely happening through reports in the press, with breaking the sprint race story last August.

Though it was discussed in previous safety commission meetings, the riders were unaware that the plan had been approved and was going to be implemented in 2023.

Since then, numerous questions have been raised about sprint races and the grid has been split on their value, as well as how it will impact them from round to round.

One key thing that has arisen in recent weeks, following a report from, was the fact that teams and riders are yet to come to an agreement over the bonuses they will be paid for winning sprint races.

Salaries in general have been a talking point in MotoGP over the past year, with Joan Mir’s manager Paco Sanchez telling the media at the French GP (just two weeks after Suzuki announced it was quitting MotoGP and Mir’s contract negotiations crumbled to nothing) that a minimum base salary should be implemented by the series.

“This is a big business,” Sanchez said. “For me, this is like tennis and football and other big sports, part of this business should be to the people who are the stars of this business. And MotoGP riders are the stars of this world. So, I think they merit… I don’t know if Dorna, the manufacturers, somebody needs to pay a minimum base salary.

“I don’t say pay them the salary of Marc Marquez, but a minimum base salary because they play with their lives. We forget sometimes, but they are playing with their lives. Some young riders, if you offer them 100,000 euros they sign, or zero and they sign.”

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Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

In the same interview attended by select media, Sanchez revealed that the contract that Tech3 rider Remy Gardner, whom he also manages, signed was “shit”.

This comment was sparked by a debate at the time regarding Speed Up’s ousting of Romano Fenati partway through the 2022 Moto2 season, with a number of riders expressing concerns about contracts they deemed were precarious for riders.

In 2022, the combined salaries of the grid reduced by 19.45% compared to 2019, with 11 riders in 2023 set to be earning under six figures (not including any win bonuses that might…

Read More: The divide that could mar MotoGP’s sprint race revolution in 2023 2023-03-06 17:03:37

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