As the MotoGP calendar expands, the logistical challenges of running an increasing number of back-to-back rounds are starting to have an impact. The triple header starting at Aragon, then proceeding to Motegi, then finishing at Buriram in Thailand was always going to be the hardest one, because of the distances to be traveled, and finally, Dorna and IRTA have had to admit defeat. Practice for the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi has been rescheduled, with just a single session on Friday, starting at 1:15pm, and no track action in the morning.
The new schedule will see Moto3 start at 1:15pm local time, with the normal 40 minute FP1 session. The 40-minute Moto2 FP1 follows at 2:10pm, and at 3:05pm, MotoGP will have 75 minutes on track for FP1. Normal service will be resumed on Saturday. Progress to Q2 will be determined by the combined times set during FP1 on Friday and FP2 on Saturday.
The schedule change is necessary because of the journey the MotoGP freight has to undertake from Aragon to Motegi. The entire paddock will have to be packed up on Sunday night at Aragon, ready to be flown to Japan. From Tokyo, the freight will have to be taken by truck to the Motegi Twin Ring circuit, before the Dorna crews and the teams can start to unpack and set up the TV broadcasting equipment and the garages.
There had been concern from the start that this move would pose a challenge, and after the logistical problems in Argentina and Austin, Dorna have chosen to preempt potential issues. Delaying track action for half a day should give everyone enough time to set up and be ready for action.
The press release from Dorna appears below:
Grand Prix of Japan: Time Schedule changes
Thursday, 23 June 2022
The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports are obliged to announce changes to the Friday schedule at the Grand Prix of Japan.
Due to the logistical challenges posed by the Grand Prix being staged back-to-back with the Grand Prix of Aragon, as well as potential delays caused by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and its effect on airspace, it has been decided to not run practice sessions for the Grand Prix classes – MotoGP™, Moto2™ and Moto3™ – on Friday morning.
Instead, Moto3™ FP1 will begin at 13:15 local time, Moto2™ at 14:10 and MotoGP™ at 15:05. This single MotoGP™ FP1 session that will now take place on Friday afternoon has been extended from 45 to 75 minutes. The time extension is for the premier class only.
The combined results for entry into Q1 and Q2 will be taken from FP1 and FP2 for all Grand Prix classes.
Fan activities will be planned with Grand Prix riders on Friday morning, giving fans at the track a chance to interact with their heroes as MotoGP™ returns to Japan for the first time since 2019.
There will also be track action at the Mobility Resort Motegi from 9:00 local time on Friday as the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup gets the race weekend underway with FP1, FP2 and qualifying for their third round of 2022.
After three years away, the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship looks forward to returning to race in Japan; on home turf for several MotoGP™ factories and in front of one of the most passionate, dedicated crowds on our calendar.