Reigning World Superbike champion and former MotoGP rider Alvaro Bautista believes it is aggression from riders, not the new race weekend format, causing the biggest problem in the sprint race introduction.
Bautista switched from MotoGP to World Superbikes from the 2019 season, which coincided with the first year of the production-based series’ three-race format per round – one full length race each on Saturday and Sunday plus a sprint race on Sunday morning.
The Spaniard feels that the level of aggression in the sprint races needs to be managed and is the responsibility of the riders themselves, rather than be blamed on the new weekend format.
A number of MotoGP riders were critical of the first sprint race at the season-opener in Portugal, with Fabio Quartararo calling it a “jungle” and fears there will be “some serious accident”.
Jack Miller, on the other hand, was enthusiastic with the new dynamic established on grand prix weekends, with which MotoGP promoter Dorna and different parties involved hope will boost the popularity of the championship.
Aleix Espargaro felt it was the riders’ responsibility for managing aggression during the sprint races, a viewpoint Bautista agrees with.
“I don’t see that sprints are dangerous. Another thing is how each one manages it. The risk and the danger are a matter of the riders, not of the race or the format,” Bautista told Motorsport.com.
“I like the new format much more than the previous one. What I enjoy the most is the races, not the practice, where you just do laps. I personally think that [the change] has been a success, because it generates much more public attention.
“Also, for the riders it is a challenge because you have to be very focused and make fewer mistakes, since it costs more to recover.
Alvaro Bautista, Aruba.it Racing Ducati
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“For them it is something new, and when you hear sprint, the first thing that comes out is to charge from the first moment.
“When they see how it works and how they should manage it, the aggressiveness will lessen. In fact, we are more aggressive in the long races than in the short ones [in World Superbikes].”
The three-time MotoGP podium finisher felt the grand prix riders will get used to the new rhythm of the weekends, in the same way that they did with the qualifying format changes previously.
“The same thing happens when the qualifying session was divided into Q1 and Q2,” he explained.
“First there was a lot of talk about it, and now no one questions that format anymore. All these changes play in favour of the show.
“If you start 10th, you must try to challenge half the grid in the first corner. So, more than aggressiveness, the most important thing is the [start] position on the grid.”
Read More: MotoGP riders’ aggression main issue with sprints 2023-04-06 10:32:28