Qatar MotoGP qualifying cancelled after Doha deluge
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat were unable to participate in any track action in Qatar tonight after the opening MotoGP qualifying of 2017 was cancelled following torrential rain that left the Losail International Circuit in an unrideable condition.
Pouring rain battered the Losail International Circuit earlier today, which meant the scheduled FP4, Q1 and Q2 sessions were delayed while race organisation worked tirelessly to clear large patches of standing water that had gathered at numerous points around the 5.4km track.
The weather disruption initially meant a revision to tonight’s schedule, with Miller and Rabat on standby for a 20-minute practice session at 6pm to evaluate wet conditions for the first time in Qatar.
That session was cancelled though due to the unusually variable track conditions, with parts of the surface fully dry, parts damp, and other parts completely underwater.
Every effort was taken to ensure some track action commenced tonight, and it was hoped at 8.30pm local time that the 30-minute FP4 would get underway. But Race Direction decided to cancel all action shortly after 8pm, with the track unsafe to begin proceedings.
Grid places for tomorrow’s season opening 22-lap race have been decided based on the standings at the end of Free Practice, meaning Miller starts his second season with Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS from 16th. Rabat’s 2017 campaign will kick off from 19th on the grid.
As a result of tonight’s disruption, tomorrow’s 20-minute Warm-up session will be extended by 10 minutes to make up for the lost set-up time this evening.
Jack Miller: 16th – 1’55.959
“I’ve got a lot of arm pump from riding today! Seriously though, it was the correct decision to cancel the action tonight on safety grounds. We all want to put on a show for the fans here and at home, but the track wasn’t in a good condition for riding. My grid position is not ideal and I’m sure I could have been higher if qualifying had taken place, but I’ve been in worse situations and I’m confident I’ve got the speed to have a good race tomorrow.”
Tito Rabat: 19th – 1’56.368
“I feel very tired after a very hard day. Joking aside, Race Direction took the right decision to cancel tonight’s action. It was too dry to go out on rain tyres but if you go out on slicks then the wet patches would have made it very risky. The positive is that I have saved a lot of energy for tomorrow’s race. I am looking forward to a strong Warm-up session to give me some confidence going into the race. Let’s just hope we don’t have a repeat of the rain we saw today.”