As if the prospect of the new MotoGP season wasn’t exciting enough, 2013 will see the introduction of a new qualifying format. The new system, designed to add a greater competitive ‘edge’ to practice sessions, will see the fastest 10 riders sent through to Q2 final qualifying, while the rest will compete in a preliminary Q1 session with the top 2 riders progressing through to join the other 10 riders in Q2.
Though the change may seem an unnecessary one to many readers, it seems a clear step by Dorna to add value to the whole ‘MotoGP experience’. Fans who attend over the course of an entire long weekend will benefit from more competitive practice sessions and will effectively ‘force’ the top teams to ensure their riders put in some fast times over the course of the Free Practice sessions.
But of course, we must remember that while the top teams will have to put in a few fast laps, I’m not sure there will be much change for any of the riders at the front of the pack. The main change, would seem to add more value to the slower CRT teams, who will now compete in a preliminary Q1 session where in the top 2 riders will go through to Q2.
So, will the changes make qualifying more interesting? Well Formula 1 has certainly benefitted from its own qualifying shake-up, and any move to improve competition should be seen as a positive step. From a fan’s perspective, qualifying has (in the past at least) all been about seeing who can stick their bike on pole. With the new system however, expect some fierce competition for bragging rights among the CRT teams, and don’t be surprised if Q1 becomes the more closely fought of the two qualifying sessions!