What remains of the 2020 Moto3 season? Albert Arenas’ title of course, the great season of Tony Arbolino, but also an long-standing issue that appears irresolvable. We’re talking about the ‘qualifying problem’, or rather the tendency of many riders to wait, during the key moments of Q1 and Q2, for the right tow or slipstream in order to set their fastest time.
A behaviour that has often shuffled the cards in an unpredictable way, generating unexpected results and a lot of disappointed riders, who are tired of this situation. The Stewards Panel tried to find a solution right from the early rounds, dishing out penalty after penalty, but in practice nothing’s really changed.
The solution? Riders and staff have clear ideas
So how to solve the problem? During the season, many riders and team managers have made suggestions, with most of them proposing the Superpole format. A formula that the more nostalgic among us associate with Superbike’s glorious past, when riders would head out one at a time to set their fastest time and secure their spot on the Race 1 and Race 2 grid.
The Superpole option could serve as a cure-all, but if we consider the situation from a more general standpoint, we can see some complications. The main one relates to TV requirements. As we know, any modern sports event needs to coordinate its processes and schedule with the needs of the leading channels that broadcast it, in order to supply the viewer with the best possible service. Dorna itself has had to modify its schedule more than once in recent seasons, to prevent MotoGP from clashing with F1.
The spectator is always right
And this leads us to question whether a leading TV channel would agree to transmit Moto3 qualifying with this new format? It would take longer overall of course, as the 30 minutes of Q1 and Q2 would not suffice, and who knows whether the audience would be more, or in fact less, interested?
There is also the fact that Dorna might struggle to change the format for just one category, and making the change across all three seems like a utopia. The Spanish firm isn’t exactly against the single lap, seeing as it’s been used in MotoE right from its debut season. So yes, it might be a difficult change to make, but surprises are always just around the corner in motorsport.
Translated by Heather Watson