Qatar MotoGP: Race postponed to Monday

1 of 1

The opening round of the MotoGP world championship in Qatar has been postponed by a day because of torrential rain.

Heavy rain started to fall just as the 18-rider field was about to start the warm-up lap at 11pm local time.

After a short pause as the rain started to fall heavier, Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi and the rest of the MotoGP field were instructed to leave the grid and within 30 minutes the first race was cancelled as torrential rain battered the floodlit Losail International Circuit.

The rescheduled race – at 7pm UK time – will be an expensive exercise and a logistical nightmare.

Most team personnel were due to fly out on early morning flights, with reigning world champion Rossi scheduled to leave Doha on a 3.45am flight.

Personnel had also checked out of hotels and dozens of flights will need to be rebooked. That will all cost money for teams already hell bent on saving money because of the global economic crisis.

Staging the race in the day also causes major problems, not least with the tyres. Temperatures will be much hotter for a daylight running and Bridgestone only came to the Middle East with soft and medium compound tyres, which might not last the 22-lap race.

Rain had started to fall earlier in the day and disrupted the 125 race, which was declared a result after just four laps as it was deemed too dangerous to continue.

The 250 race was then run over 13-laps because to keep the MotoGP race in its original 11pm slot.

Any rainfall in Doha brings an immediate race stoppage due to visibility problems caused by glare from the floodlights.

Ironically, the Qatar race was voted the best Grand Prix on 2008 on the eve of this weekend’s encounter.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt