MotoGP Austria: Fabio Quartararo: Sprint races are “stupid”, Aleix Espargaro: “I don’t like the idea” | MotoGP

Stating that the riders had not been involved in the decision, which was to be officially announced at a special press conference on Saturday, Quartararo called it “stupid”.

Quartararo’s main objections seemed to distract from the main Sunday grand prix, as well as instantly doubling the number of races in a season to over 40.

“Well, I think that’s stupid…I think the race is on Sunday. I don’t know why we are doing something on Saturday,” said the Monster Yamaha rider.

“Honestly they didn’t really ask us and in the end I think we all prefer to have a good race on Sunday.

“To have a sprint race [as well as all] Sunday races, I think that’s stupid.

Aleix Espargaro had more technical objections: “I don’t like the idea. I would like to discuss it with Dorna.

“I totally respect Superbike, but it’s not Superbike. MotoGP has a lot of electronics, a lot of aerodynamics, a lot of stuff, a lot of engineers. To get it right is very difficult.

“Now with the [top ten] system – FP1, FP2 and FP3 – it’s already like qualifying and it’s very difficult if it’s raining – like here – to have [time to find] a good frame [for the race].

“If they now reduce our [practice] time and we have to race on Saturday, I think it’s difficult.

“I love racing, I hate winter testing, but I don’t think that’s a good fit here.”

The Spaniard added: “[More races] may be good for show, but it’s not ideal because of these bikes; we need a balance.

“We need [practice] time to develop the bikes. What you see on streetbikes and the Aprilia 1000 comes from here. The wheel control that the street bike has developed over the past three years, the fenders [also].

“It’s good if we have to race on Saturday, but at the same time we have to develop things and try things. [in practice].

“Before dealing with this [Sprint race idea] I would like to understand if FP1 and FP2 will change a lot and if we will give up more practice time.

“Honestly, I love running. I hate training, but it’s necessary!”

Pol Espargaro: “Double work, double risk, same money”

While also awaiting full details and lamenting that the riders weren’t more involved in the Sprint race discussions, younger brother Pol Espargaro described the idea as meaning “double the risk, with the same money. We race twice a weekend and racing means more risk because you’re closer to the guys, you want to overtake the one in front, it’s more risky.

“I know Superbike does that [sprint races] but these bikes are heavier, faster and for sure it is more dangerous to race with these bikes. If you asked me if I like, I would say no… It’s double work and a double risk. It’s not amazingly good.

“I’m just answering as a driver. For TV, it’s double the show. I wish someone would ask me before we realize we’re racing twice next year. .”

Bagnaia: ‘Maybe it’s too much’

Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia also had concerns, pointing to the increased physical and mental demands.

“I would like to hear what the other riders think about it and talk about it in the safety committee because this [Sprint races] is a surprise,” he said.

“In a place like Austin, normal racing is already so mentally and physically demanding. Two races there will be so long and difficult. We will talk because every year adding more and more races is mentally and physically more difficult. Maybe it’s too much Maybe we can ask to reduce It’s a little strange to start from scratch with another schedule, for me.

Quartararo, who starts this weekend with a 22-point lead over Espargaro, was speaking after being the only non-Ducati in the top eight in Friday’s practice at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

“The pace looks good, but we know alone we always have a good pace, so in the race things can change,” Quartararo said, referring to being trapped in traffic.

“The good thing is that at least we know we have the speed [here], Rins was also going really fast. It’s strange that with the soft tires he couldn’t improve, but yes, I think our pace is excellent.

“It was a shame that we got the yellow flag. We had a little misunderstanding with the team changing the front tire and I did my best laps in the third and fourth laps, so I think we have a little margin.

Quartararo also quashed suggestions that the new chicane would make one of Yamaha’s toughest tracks even tougher.

“Looking at sector one, we’re second [fastest], so it sure is better! he said.

“I prefer the old layout, but in the end you prefer what you go faster on and what’s better for you. And for us it’s much better to have that.

“It’s first gear, I didn’t expect it to be so slow. When you walk or ride a bike, everything seems much bigger, but on the bike, it’s so small and it’s [working] better for us.

The second best Yamaha, after Quartararo, was Franco Morbidelli in 17th.

Bagnaia, winner of the last two races, was a fraction behind Quartararo in fifth, with Espargaro in eleventh.

“On this track it is very important to stop the bike completely straight and the worst thing about the Aprilia is this,” explained Espargaro.

“I struggled a lot and didn’t understand how to do it. For the first two rounds of FP2, I just went wide everywhere. I didn’t even have lap times.

“Today for me was shocking. I just woke up in the last two minutes and did some good laps alone near the faster guys but I need more time.

“The new chicane is much better but I was not good in my driving today and I didn’t really understand it.

“It was my fault, I wasn’t fast enough there but they did a good job and it’s much safer.”

Espargaro’s teammate Maverick Vinales finished ninth.

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