Qatar MotoGP Set For Tomorrow

Cycle News Staff | April 12, 2009

The MotoGP at the Losail Circuit in Qatar has been rescheduled for tomorrow night with the race set to begin at 9 p.m. local time with a warm-up session slated for 6:30 p.m., according to Dorna. And not everyone is happy about it – most notably fast qualifier Casey Stoner.”If this was last year, it wouldn’t have been a problem, but this is this year,” Stoner said when told that the race was going to go on after a torrential downpour in the desert stopped the action tonight. “They are taking time away from us and making all the riders panic to get a setup, and it’s not really going to close the racing up. They are taking our time away to save money, yet they are spending money to do stuff like this. Personally, if it was any other circuit in the world, they probably wouldn’t postpone it until the next day. This is probably the only track in the world where they are going to postpone it until the next day. If it is dry tomorrow, then fair play and wet get on with it, but if there is a chance that it’s going to be wet, I thought the most logical decision would be to cancel this race and not to waste more money on something that we’re trying to save.”Like I said, that would be the real decision. We’re going to have to get on with it tomorrow and hopefully things are going to be dry so we actually stay here for a reason. But if it’s raining tomorrow or if the track conditions are well enough to ride on, then, like I say, because of the money issue they are going through all these different things, going back to one bike for next year, all these things to cut costs, yet they are spending money to keep us here. I’m sure it’s a lot of money just to keep us here for one more day. I don’t really see the logic in doing that.”When questioned if Ducati had asked him and teammate Nicky Hayden their opinion on racing tomorrow, Stoner said: “We told them [Ducati] our reasons. I’m sure it was their reasons as well. This isn’t doing the championship any good. The TV coverage is going to be difficult to get back on, so again it’s all to do with money. I think the reason the teams kept it going is because of sponsors for money and so much of this is to do with money, and yet if it backfires then there is a lot of money down the drain. It’s not up to us. It has absolutely nothing to do with us and we’ll just have to get on with it. If it’s wet, there’s no race. It’s difficult to say that dry track conditions will be unsafe, but with the amount of rain there has been at the moment, even the locals here said they haven’t seen rain like that in a long time. It’s going to wash a lot of dust onto the track and it could be very, very hard riding and very easy to tip it over. If it’s like that after warm-up, then again it’s the same as the wet conditions – they’ve spent a lot of money for nothing. It’s going to have to be them, I suppose, that live with it.”Stoner did, however, say that this wasn’t about the racing being held at night – that rain in the desert is a rarity and it’s more bad luck than anything else.”I don’t think we’ll ever see this happen again,” Stoner said. “Personally, I think this is dead set luck. I’ve never seen a spot of rain before in this place until testing this year. Normally, at the beginning of the year they never see rain and yet we’ve had… basically the last four days have been at least a little bit on those days. It’s unheard of really so I don’t think we’ll find this sort of problem again and it’s not because of the night race that this issue has occurred.”The MotoGP race was actually on the grid when the weather came.”It’s not the best situation,” Stoner said. “We were ready to go. I saw some lightning off in the distance when we first pulled up to the grid, but the wind was going toward that direction so I thought it was going to keep blowing it away from us. Wind starting hitting me in the face and the rain started hitting and it hasn’t really stopped until now. It’s something quite amazing to see and witness I suppose. There’s not many days you can be here when it’s going to rain like that.”According to Dorna, the decision was made after discussions between FIM, IRTA, Dorna and the QMMF.FIM Road Racing Commission President, Claude Danis stated: “For safety reasons it was not possible to race in the night due to the reflection of the lights on the track. This decision had already been taken a few years ago when we first decided to run a night race in Qatar. On behalf of the FIM I am very happy that we could postpone the race until tomorrow. It is important for the championship, especially at the first race, and I would like to thank Dorna, QMMF, IRTA and the MotoGP teams for helping reach this decision together.”Dorna Sports CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta added: “After the arrival of a large storm we had to cancel the race as it was unsafe. The QMMF offered us the choice to run the race tomorrow, and as it was a very important decision we wanted to consult with all the team managers. The postponement was accepted by a large majority. This has been an extraordinary decision in extraordinary circumstances.”