Reigning MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi has expressed concern that gloomy weather forecasts could seriously hamper crucial bike set-up time during this weekend’s Japanese GP.
Forecasts for Saturday currently predict a 90 per cent chance of rain and for race day on Sunday, there is a 40 per cent of showers falling.
That would leave only tomorrow’s 45-minute opening practice session for the MotoGP field to get a dry set-up, should Sunday’s 24-lap race escape the forecast rain.
And that is a worry for Fiat Yamaha rider Rossi, who said: “With just three practices of 45 minutes, if you lose two then it becomes very difficult.
"And the forecast is quite bad for Saturday at this moment. But we have to work also on the wet to improve our pace.
"Unfortunately, we are not important enough to decide the weather, so we have to wait.”
It was at the Twin Ring Motegi eight months ago that Rossi won his first MotoGP crown since the 2005 world championship campaign.
Happy memories for the 30-year-old Italian, but more pressing than reminiscing about former glory is the need to quickly stop title rival Casey Stoner, who dominated the season’s opening race in Qatar to win his 17th MotoGP race for Ducati.
“This race track has great memories for me. It was not just because I won the championship but it was a great race because I struggle during the practice.
"But on Sunday I was very, very fast and it was a great victory. It looks like the M1 with the Bridgestone is fast and competitive for this track, so we will see from tomorrow.
"We have to understand the different temperature because now it’s April and we will see about the weather condition also. And for sure we have to work in another way having just two tyres, but I am confident.”