Rossi Supports Race Decision; Wants Day Race for Qatar

Henny Ray Abrams | April 12, 2009

Valentino Rossi made a tongue in cheek admission that he was personally responsible  for the rain that caused the postponement of the season-opening Grand Prix of Qatar.Sunday’s race was postponed one day after severe showers hit the Losail International Circuit just as the riders were about to take their warm-up lap. The track in the desert east of the Qatari capital of Doha is the only night race on the calendar and the only one where racing in the wet isn’t an option. The reason is visibility problems with the lights reflecting the water.When the rain didn’t let up, a decision was taken to postpone the race, with other options on the table. Following a meeting among the race team managers, race direction, and race organizers, it was announced that the race would be postponed 22 hours until 9:00 p.m. Monday night. It was the first time in anyone’s memory that a grand prix was postponed. And Rossi said it was his fault.”You know, the mistake is that we put already the bag in the car because we have the flight at 3:45 (a.m.) and this bring a lot of unlucky, because it’s the first time I do,” he said with a laugh. “So tomorrow we have to remain the bag in the hotel, make the race, come back in the hotel, take the bag, and go home.”No, you know, so nobody’s happy to stay another day, but I think is also worse to stay here for four days and don’t make the race, about money, about effort, about losing the first grand prix of the season. I agreed to race tomorrow. For sure will be important the condition of the track. So tomorrow they have to try to clean the track in some way. But for me is better race tomorrow than go home.”All three races on the day were affected. The 125cc race was red-flagged after it was hit by rain on the fifth of 18 scheduled laps. Following a short discussion, the race was declared official after four laps with the half points awarded. It was the experience of the 125cc riders that colored Rossi’s decision.After taking a lap in the BMW safety car, Rossi said the 125cc riders told him that when the rain hit their visor, it reflected the lights and was difficult to see. “So when you make a night race you know this is a risk, because from the first time we say if rain, don’t race. But we have to wait for tomorrow, but in this condition in the night, race with the rain is not possible, because visibility problems.”The 250cc race was delayed 20 minutes and shortened from 20 laps to 13, which the field completed without a rain interruption.Now Rossi wants the races moved back to daylight hours. “Maybe if all the riders decide to don’t race, for sure they change his mind.” His mind is already made up. “I prefer race in the day and I say this from the first day, because no advantage race in the night. Is for nothing. I hope at least that race track like Sepang that think already to race in the night, after today, they change decision and remains just Qatar. I prefer race in the day.”

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.