MotoGP will return to four hours of running on grand prix Fridays and Saturdays next year after two seasons of shortened practice sessions. The move was ratified in a Grand Prix Commission meeting in Madrid today.
Practice and qualifying had initially been trimmed during the cost-cutting measures introduced at the start of 2009. At first, Friday morning practice was cut altogether, and the other two practice sessions plus qualifying reduced from 60 to 45 minutes. The three remaining sessions were restored to an hour's duration not long afterward.
Riders continued to call for more practice time, and in the latter part of the 2010 season the four-session schedule was restored – albeit with practice and qualifying back to 45 minutes, so the cumulative track time available did not increase. However, today's decision will give the field a full four hours of pre-race running, plus the warm-up, again next season for the first time since 2008.
Moto2 will have four 45-minute sessions, while the 125cc class will have 45-minute practice sessions on Friday and Saturday mornings, but only half an hour of running in the afternoons.
In another adjustment ratified at today's meeting, Moto2 and 125cc will only have three riders per row on the grid – rather than the previous four – at each race next season.