ASK THE MXPERTS: MXGP’S STUPIDEST NEW RULE
WHY IS GRAND PRIX MATH SO FUZZY?
After Supercross went bust with all the riders getting injured, I decided to not watch the AMA Nationals and started watching MXGP. I’ve seen a few GPs, but I don’t understand how a rider who doesn’t win a Grand Prix can actually gain points on the rider who did win the GP. I’m speaking specifically about Jorge Prado and Romain Febvre.
The true reason is a mixture of stupidity, greed and revenge by the Luongo-run promoting group. After the 2022 rider-led strike of Saturday qualifying races, when the star riders elected to sit out Saturday qualifying races because the promoters refused to listen to their complaints about dangerous track conditions in the first turn, the MXGP brain trust changed the World Championship point system by paying points to the 10 fastest qualifiers in both 250 and 450 qualifying on Saturday. It wasn’t something they did out of the kindness of their hearts, it was done to force the riders to ride the meaningless saturday races because if they didn’t they would lose points. This is a revenge rule! Saturday qualifying is a one-moto race for gate pick for Sunday’s GP, and many of the riders don’t think it’s worth the risk when they have already had a timed qualifying session earlier on Saturday.
To force the Grand Prix riders to race Saturday’s qualifiers in 2023, which helps draw a bigger crowd of paying spectators for Saturday’s previously meaningless races, the MXGP organizers decided to pay points to the top 10 riders in the 250 and 450 Saturday qualifying races. They pay 10 points to first, 9 points to second, 8 points to third and so on down to 1 point for 10th. These points are not added to their race results for Sunday’s Grand Prix, but they are added to the riders’ Grand Prix points standings for the season.
Thus, a rider who won both motos in the Grand Prix of Slowjamistan would earn 50 points, but if he didn’t score any points in Saturday’s qualifying races, he could lose points in the MXGP series standings because a rider who went 2-2 for 44 points in the GP and got the 10-point bonus for winning Saturday’s qualifying race would have 54 points added to his season total.
If you just look at the 2023 MXGP season, under this system Jorge Prado earned 155 bonus points (that have never been added to any previous Grand Prix season), while his archrival, Romain Febvre, only got 140 bonus points. In the end, Jorge Prado beat Romain by 67 points so it was a moot point, but would we say they same thing if Prado had beaten Febvre by 14 points? All credit to Jorge for understanding the new system and working hard to get maximum points—which he did 11 times out of 19 races (Romain Febvre only won 3 Saturday Qualifying motos).