Stormy weather leaves track wet and dan­ger­ous

New Straits Times - - Sport -


TOR­REN­TIAL rain forced qual­i­fy­ing at the sea­son-open­ing Qatar Mo­toGP to be can­celled on Satur­day leav­ing Yamaha’s Mav­er­ick Vi­nales to start yes­ter­day’s race from pole po­si­tion.

The en­tire prac­tice and qual­i­fy­ing sched­ule for Mo­toGP, Moto2 and Moto3 un­der the flood­lights of the Lo­sail track was post­poned as storms lashed the desert venue leav­ing the cir­cuit dot­ted with pools of stand­ing wa­ter.

There was no qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion yes­ter­day with start­ing grid po­si­tions based in­stead on com­bined prac­tice times.

Vi­nales, 22, who dom­i­nated Thurs­day and Fri­day prac­tice in Qatar after also sweep­ing the board at win­ter test­ing, will start from pole ahead of An­drea Ian­none on a Suzuki and world cham­pion Marc Mar­quez on a Honda.

“It’s been very strange, and strange that it rains in Qatar,” said fly­ing Spa­niard Vi­nales who backed the de­ci­sion to can­cel the day’s ac­tion.

“It was dif­fi­cult to­day, it wasn’t ok for wet tyres or dry tyres – it was too risky to go out. For me it's safety first and it's tricky con­di­tions.”

Nine-time world cham­pion Valentino Rossi, how­ever, is down in 10th place on a Yamaha after be­ing com­pletely over­shad­owed by team­mate Vi­nales, 16 years his ju­nior.

Jorge Lorenzo, an­other for­mer world cham­pion, will start in 12th place on a Du­cati.

Riders had feared that rac­ing on a wet track un­der lights would be too dan­ger­ous and that such con­di­tions would com­pro­mise vis­i­bil­ity.

“When it rains here, there is also a strong wind and a lot of sand on the track,” said Rossi, a four-time win­ner at the desert track.

Mar­quez, who has cap­tured three of the last four world ti­tles, agreed with Vi­nales that rid­ing in the wet and un­der lights would have been dan­ger­ous.

“It was too dan­ger­ous to ride, as it had rained quite heav­ily both overnight and this morn­ing. In the end, we've done more than 300 laps on this track, when you con­sider the re­cent test and this week; that means ev­ery­body al­ready has the setup and his own pace, and ev­ery­body al­ready knows where he is for the race,” said the Spa­niard, a two-time win­ner in Qatar. AFP

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