MotoGP: Extra sessions planned as rain set to hit opening night

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MotoGP organisers are making contingency plans for an extra session tonight on the opening night of the 2017 season, with rain set to hit Qatar and riders preparing to take to the Losail circuit for the first time in wet conditions.

The original schedule for tonight saw the MotoGP class only taking to the track for one session, alongside two sessions for Moto2 and Moto3 each. But, with rain forecast for later in the evening, there will now be an option of an additional session only if it rains after the first session.

Any wet session will be followed by an immediate sitting of the safety commission, open to all riders, to discuss track conditions. There’s been considerable speculation that conditions in the rain will be unsafe, thanks to a combination of glare form the floodlit track, muck from the sand that is constantly blown onto the track, and from the effects the lights will have on spray from other bikes.

The Moto2 and Moto3 riders will now also take to the track in a change from the original plan, after the arrival of a consignment of Dunlop rain tyres this morning. Each rider in the junior class will have their usual three wet pairs for the weekend, while MotoGP riders will have five front and six rear Michelins.

Last week’s Moto2 and Moto3 test at the Losail circuit was abandoned thanks to heavy thunderstorms, with more of the same forecast for the coming days.

Action is set to get underway at 1800 local time (1500 UK time).

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer