The MotoGP testing regime is to be revised again for the 2023 season. At Portimão, the Grand Prix Commission agreed to reduce the total amount of test days to 8 in total, a reduction of 3 days compared to the 2022 season.
The 2023 preseason kicks off with a 1-day test at Valencia, after the race. After the winter break, MotoGP takes to the track again at Sepang. There is a three-day shakedown test for test riders and rookies, and then three more days for the full MotoGP field at Sepang.
To end the preseason, there will be another two-day test at the Lusail International Circuit, ahead of the first grand prix of the season at Qatar.
The in-season testing has been cut too. There will be only two post-race tests, at Jerez and Barcelona. In 2022, there are four days of in-season testing, with one-day tests on the Monday after Jerez and Barcelona, and a two-day test after Misano.
The reason for the reduction in testing is simple. The bargain made between the teams and Dorna is that as the calendar expands with more racing, testing would be reduced. The independent teams are some of the main beneficiaries of this, as they get paid to go racing, but they have to pay for their expenses around the test.
The return of the Valencia test is perhaps the biggest surprise. Previously, teams had pushed to drop the Valencia post-race test, as the track does not provide useful data due to its unusual layout. However, with a reduction of the post-race test from 2 days to 1, it makes little sense to pack up the paddock, drive down to Jerez, and set it all up again for a single day.
The fact that tests are to be held at Qatar and Valencia mean that these two races will once again bookend the season, with Qatar kicking off the 2023 season, and wrapping up at Valencia
That is the program for 2023, at least. The wording of the FIM press release issued after the GPC met is deliberately broad as to the locations of the tests. It states merely that there will be a 3-day test and a 2-day test before the start of the season, two 1-day test after races, and a 1-day test after the final race of the season.
That leaves open future changes to the calendar. Qatar is expected to be the first race of the season for some time, but Dorna's plan to rotate the Spanish circuits and Portimão, with 3 rounds a year at the Iberian peninsula, means that the season could finish at tracks other than Valencia in some years.
If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting MotoMatters.com. You can help by either taking out a subscription, supporting us on Patreon, by making a donation, or contributing via our GoFundMe page. You can find out more about subscribing to MotoMatters.com here.