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Why Are MotoGP Races So Short?

MotoGP races are held to find the fastest team, motorcycle and driver combination over the course of a season taking on various different tracks. But if you’re an avid fan of other motorsports, you may wonder why MotoGP races are so short in comparison.

MotoGP races are short because the riders are racing on the limit all the time. The races aren’t that short when you consider they are traveling at 150+ mph for 45 minutes, handling powerful motorcycles and competing with the best riders in the world. The races also usually don’t have pit stops.

But compared with something like Formula 1, which often sees races more than double the length of MotoGP events, you may still not be convinced. Keep reading as we take a deep look at MotoGP races to find out the key factors that restrict their duration.

How Long Are MotoGP Races?

MotoGP races are between 110 km and 130 km long, or 69-81 miles. MotoGP races typically last for about 40 to 45 minutes, run over around 20-30 laps depending on the circuit. The exact distances of the races vary by track, and depending on how many incidents there are during the race.

2022 MotoGP Race Lengths

RaceRace Distance (miles)LapsRace Time (minutes)
Qatar (Losail)732242
Indonesia (Mandalika Circuit)542033*
Argentina (Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo)752542
United States (COTA)692041
Portugal (Portimao)712542
Spain (Jerez)692541
France (Bugatti Circuit)702742
Italy (Mugello)752341
Spain (Barcelona)692440
Germany (Sachsenring)683041
Netherlands (Assen)732640
Great Britain (Silverstone)732040
Austria (Red Bull Ring)752841
Italy (Misano)712742
Spain (Aragòn)732342
Japan (Motegi)722443
Thailand (Chang Circuit)742640
Australia (Phillip Island)692541
Malaysia (Sepang)692040
Spain (Valencia)672741

* The 2022 Indonesian Grand Prix was shortened due to safety fears, resulting from extremely high track temperatures 

How Long Are Moto2 Races?

Moto2 races are typically about 100 km long (62 miles). Moto2 bikes use 765cc Triumph engines that are capable of racing at close to the speeds of MotoGP. Despite the smaller engines, their lap times aren’t far off those of MotoGP, usually around 5 seconds slower depending on the track.

Moto2 races are normally shorter than MotoGP races by a couple of laps, which usually makes them shorter by a few minutes as well. 

How Long Are Moto3 Races?

Moto3 races are usually about 100 km long (62 miles). Moto3 bikes use 250cc engines, and this small engine capacity means the bikes lap about 5 seconds slower than Moto2 and 10+ seconds slower than MotoGP. Races are typically a lap shorter than in Moto2, but often take about the same amount of time.

KEY POINTS

• MotoGP races are typically about 110-130 km in length 

• Moto2 and Moto3 races are shorter, usually closer to 100 km long

• MotoGP races are longer than those of the other two series, but the bikes are faster

Do MotoGP Races Have Pit Stops?

MotoGP races do have pit stops sometimes, but most races don’t have any. This is because pit stops will only be required if the rider has to change bike or tires, and this usually only happens if it starts raining heavily. This is another reason some fans may perceive MotoGP races to be short.

When the rider does go to the pit, it is usually for a change of tires or to fix the bike, or to switch to a rain-adapted bike if the weather turns. Riders enter the pits more often during qualifying sessions, but normal pit stops are quite rare during the race itself.

MotoGP Race Weekend Format Explained

The MotoGP season consists of about 20 races held all over the world. Each rider earns a number of points depending on where they finished in the race. The first-placed rider gets 25 points, followed by the second-placed rider who gets 20 points, and so on until the 15th-placed rider who gets one point.

At the end of the season, the points won by each rider for each race are totaled up to find the World Champion. The highest difference in points between places is between the winner and second-placed rider. No points are given to riders who finish below 15th place.

On Race Weekends

During a race weekend, there are three 45-minute free practice sessions, known as FP1, FP2, and FP3. The riders’ timing during these practice sessions determines whether they will advance to the first qualifying round or the second qualifying round. Each rider’s time is calculated on the best lap they had in FP1, FP2, and FP3. 

For a rider to qualify, they must achieve a time that is equal to or less than 107% of the time set by the fastest rider. The 10 fastest riders advance to Qualifying 2 (Q2), while the others compete in Qualifying 1 (Q1). The times of the riders in Q1 will decide their grid positions from 13 and below, and the times of the riders in Q2 will decide their grid positions from 1 to 12.

Final Thoughts

MotoGP races are so short because the riders are racing on the limit the entire time, and there are no pit stops. While 45 minutes might seem short compared to some other motorsports, it’s a long time to be racing at speeds of 150+ mph, going up against the best motorcycle riders in the world.