MotoGP Estoril Qualifying Rained Out

Henny Ray Abrams | October 30, 2010

The starting grid for Sunday’s penultimate round of the MotoGP World Championship in Estoril will be set from combined practice times after torrential rains washed out Saturday afternoon qualifying.The track outside of Lisbon has been inundated with rain all weekend. Friday’s first practice session was a complete loss and Saturday morning was difficult, with a number of riders, including Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo and Ducati Marlboro teammates Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner, crashing out. The rain continued throughout the day and race direction, after an exploratory lap in the safety car, made the decision at 2:30 p.m. local time, about halfway into what would have been qualifying, to cancel all qualifying.”At the moment is a disaster,” rider safety boss Franco Uncini said after returning from a track inspection. “Every time you go out it’s worse and worse and worse.” The 1982 500cc World Champion said that the rain was “coming very strong. We have to cancel the day.”Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo will start from the pole position, with Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden and Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi filling out the front row.”Very rough, very rough,” Lorenzo said. “Now with so much water on the track it has been very, very hard conditions, so maybe is better to cancel the practice. And you know, for us is normal, because we make the seventh pole position in this year; maybe one of the easiest pole positions. But, you know, I’m very happy and let’s see tomorrow what is the weather.”Rossi said that it was “clearly the right decision, because is impossible ride the bike with this condition. Have too much water on the track and is very difficult also understand where the track goes, because is difficult looking. So unfortunately we have just to wait, just to wait tomorrow.”Is a pity for sure, because with the normal amount of water is possible do another wet practice, but is interesting for try to understand the pole position. But, anyway, I’m quite happy. I’m on the first row, I have a good pace, and I have a quite good balance on the bike, so just waiting what’s happened tomorrow and hoping for a better condition for make the race.”Saturday’s forecast proved inaccurate and there was no sense speculating on Sunday. If it was dry, Rossi said it would be “like a bet. We will have a warm-up, but at this moment, maybe it’s better if it continues to rain and make a wet race. Everybody have more kilometers for sure.” He added that he had “a good setting on the bike, we have some small modify for try this afternoon. We have a good potential on the wet, but if will be dry, we try anyway.”The second row is Stoner, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Ben Spies, and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Melandri in what will be his best starting position of the year.None of the riders on the first two rows improved their times in Saturday morning’s wet free practice. Row three changed, with two riders moving up. Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso moved up to seventh from ninth and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards improved to ninth from 12th. LCR Honda’s Randy de Puniet slipped from seventh to eighth.San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli leads off the fourth row from Aleix Espargaro (Pramac Racing Ducati) and Dani Pedrosa, the Repsol Honda rider who will return to the grid on Sunday after missing the past three races.Combined Practice Results:

1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:48.522

2. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:48.657

3. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:48.883

4. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:49.061

5. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:49.721

6. Marco Melandri (Honda) 1:49.784

7. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:50.007

8. Randy de Puniet (Honda) 1:50.043

9. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:50.313

10. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1:50.500

11. Aleix Espargaro (Ducati) 1:50.787

12. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:50.824

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.