Qatar test: Valentino Rossi rues desert downpour

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Valentino Rossi was left a frustrated figure as he completed just one lap on the opening night of testing at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.

The reigning world champion spent most of the night in his paddock clothes as an early and quick cloudburst put paid to any meaningful testing.

While most of the track had dried after the rain that fell shortly before 7pm, it was still wet through the final three corners where the rain had fallen at its heaviest, and almost four hours of track time was lost as riders waited for conditions to improve.

Rossi though didn’t bother venturing out after his solitary lap, with times were five seconds off the pace of last year’s race times.

Rossi, who recently celebrated his 30th birthday, said: “Five minutes of rain has caused us very big problems. First we waited and then finally we decided to abandon it.

“I hope tomorrow it’s back to normal because this was our worst race last year and we need the time to see where we are and continue to improve with our new package.”

Rossi was only fifth in the historic first night race last year on his Bridgestone debut.
Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo also called it a night having also completed just one lap, denying him the chance to try new electronic systems.

“I went out and at the third corner it started to rain – I couldn’t believe it! It seems strange to have rain in the desert and it’s been a nightmare for the team because we have lost a whole day.

“I hope it’s better tomorrow because I really want to try the new electronic system and also I need to keep working to improve with the Bridgestone tyres,” said the Spaniard.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt