Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso says he is lobbying for what he feels is an “essential” change to MotoGP’s format of practice sessions.
Currently, the top 10 riders from the three practice sessions combined progress automatically through to the second phase of qualifying, with the rest forced to fight for the remaining two spots in Q1.
However, Dovizioso revealed he has been pushing for a tweak of this system, which would result in only laps in Saturday morning’s third practice counting towards qualification for Q2.
While acknowledging Friday’s sessions would become “dull” as a result, the Italian said the current format leads to riders wasting tyres and running out of time to try all the different compounds.
He also said that the majority of the riders in the Safety Commission at the previous race in Argentina were in favour of the change.
“I am one of the riders who believes we have to change the system,” said Dovizioso on Thursday at Austin.
“I have pushed a lot since last year for it, but so far it hasn’t been taken into consideration. But in Argentina I went back to the subject once more, and this time I found enough support from all the riders.
“We are working on it, but it’s not easy to make it happen and I don’t know when it will happen. But in my opinion it’s essential that it happens.”
He added: “If we change the rule, Fridays become dull and worthless.
"But on the contrary, with the current system, you don’t have time to work, because before the end of each session you have to set a time and get in the top 10 so you can progress [to Q2].
“That means you have to use more tyres, and always work knowing that before finishing the session you have to set a time.
“In every session you make three runs, and if one of these you have to set a time, you only have two to work on the bike and you cannot try all the tyres.”
Redding in favour of change
Pramac Ducati rider Scott Redding agreed with Dovizioso's assessment of the situation, saying the current system penalises those who prioritise set-up work on Fridays over setting a fast lap.
“It’s not really a bad idea,” said Redding. “I think having all this qualifying/practice is a bit shit anyway. It’s a waste of time.
“In FP1, you’re working on electronics and a little bit of suspension and no one takes a laptime from that. FP2 you work on the tyre, but very few [set a quick time], so FP3 is a pre-qualifying – unless there’s mixed weather conditions involved.
“On the other hand, that’s a bit shit. So the guys who gamble with time attacking because it could rain, and if you are working on the tyre for the race, it could cost you the race because you’re not in a position to qualify.
“I agree with him, I think it would be better because you can focus, knowing that you can save tyres for that FP3, so you work on your race setup before. I think it’s a good idea."
Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont and Charles Bradley