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Do MotoGP Races Have Practice Sessions?

MotoGP races are held all over the world on various types of tracks, sometimes in adverse weather conditions. This means riders are faced with lots of different scenarios, and so you might wonder if MotoGP races have practice sessions.

MotoGP races have three 45-minute practice sessions and one 30-minute one, which the riders use to familiarize themselves with the conditions of the track. The riders’ times from the first 3 practice sessions are used to determine which qualifying session they will take part in: either Q1 or Q2.

Keep reading below as we take a deep look at MotoGP practice sessions and how they are used. We’ll also go through the procedures for each one, and discuss why they’re all so important. 

Do MotoGP Races Have Practice Sessions?

MotoGP races do have 4 free practice sessions that the riders use to get to know the track conditions and layout. The times clocked by each rider during the first 3 free practice sessions are used by race officials to decide which qualifying session they take part in (Q1 or Q2).

The times riders set during the first three, 45-minute practice sessions will be used to determine if they advance to the first or second qualifying rounds. Each rider’s time is based on the best lap time that they set out of all three free practice sessions. The time set by the fastest rider is the benchmark by which everyone is evaluated.

Getting Into Q1 & Q2

To be eligible to take part in either of these sessions, a rider must have a time that is equal to or less than 107% of the fastest rider’s time. Of the riders who do this, the ten fastest riders advance to Q2, while the others will compete in Q1. The fastest two riders in Q1 progress to Q2, where they battle it out for pole position, with the first 12 grid places set in this session.

Those who didn’t make it to Q2 have their grid slot determined from their best Q1 lap time, setting positions 13 onwards. The starting grid is made up of lines of three, separated from the previous three by a distance of nine meters, which are filled up based on each rider’s time set in the first qualifying session.

The fourth practice session is half an hour long, and it takes place between the third practice session and the first qualifying session. The laps set by riders in this session are not timed for qualifying purposes, and it’s when teams and riders can make any necessary adjustments.

How Does Free Practice Work In MotoGP?

Free practice in MotoGP is made up of 3 sessions the riders use to get to know the track conditions and to attempt to set times fast enough to progress into one of 2 qualifying rounds. There are 4 free practice sessions that are held on Friday and Saturday, while the race is usually held on Sunday. 

MotoGP riders don’t just use the free practice sessions to get into the qualifying sessions though, as they’ll also use it to familiarize themselves with the track layout and the conditions. While they may know the track like the back of their hand, they still benefit from running tweaked bike setups and trying out new lines through corners to try and get as much speed out of the bike as possible.

The Unseen Benefits Of Free Practice Sessions

These sessions give sponsors additional exposure, and the fans get to watch their favorite sport for a few hours more. Considering the vast amount of money that is poured into developing the engines and racing them, the companies who sponsor their racing teams get some return on their money from the extra television time as well.

What Do FP1, FP2, FP3 And FP4 Mean In MotoGP?

FP1, FP2, FP3 and FP4 in MotoGP are the terms used to refer to the free practice sessions. FP1 means free practice session 1, FP2 means free practice session 2, and so on. FP1, FP2, and FP3 are important as the rider’s fastest lap time is used to decide which qualifying session they take part in.

KEY POINTS

• Free practice sessions in MotoGP are extremely important

• They’re labeled FP1 through FP4

• The first three are used to determine which qualifying session the riders take part in

• The fourth free practice session is when teams can make any minor adjustments before qualifying

Why Is MotoGP Practice Important For Qualifying?

MotoGP practice is important for qualifying as the riders’ lap times from the first 3 sessions are used to determine which qualifying session they take part in. However, the practice sessions are also important for gathering data, getting familiar with track conditions, and altering bike setups.

In any sport, whether it is golf, tennis, or cycling, getting to know the ground that the event will be held on can help you prepare for it better. In a sport like MotoGP where riders are moving around the track at very high speeds, knowledge of the track conditions and how to get the most out of your bike on that track is crucial and can be the difference between winning and losing.

While the practice sessions in MotoGP are important for determining where a driver can qualify, they also allow them valuable chances to tweak their setups and racing lines to get the most out of their bike at that specific track. While they know the tracks well, this is a chance to really get to grips with the conditions, and practice is always important, even for the best riders in the world.

Final Thoughts

MotoGP races have three 45-minute practice sessions, and during these sessions the riders’ laps are timed to determine which qualifying session they’ll take part in (Q1 or Q2). There is a fourth 30-minute free practice session before these qualifying sessions, during which the laps are not timed.