After overnight rain, a storm and too much standing water on track at Losail International Circuit, the original timetable for Saturday at the #QatarGP saw some adjustments before the decision was taken by Race Direction to cancel track action for the day.
Conditions were deemed too dangerous to enable riders to get out on track – with little chance of improvement as rain and lightning began again.
Therefore, it’s combined times after the end of FP3 that will decide the grid ahead of Sunday’s racing.
That means Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) will start from his first pole for Yamaha, with Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Andrea Iannone and reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) joining him on the front row.
The second row is: top rookie Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing) in sixth.
The third row – so from P7 to P9 – is Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda).
Nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) heads up Row 4 in tenth, ahead of Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing). Jorge Lorenzo is in 12th on his debut with the Ducati Team.
Warm Up will be extended tomorrow for MotoGP™, Moto2™ and Moto3™, with each session given a new length of 30 minutes.
Maverick Viñales, P1: “It’s been very strange, and strange that it rains in Qatar! From FP1 I’ve felt really good and I did a great laptime, riding much faster than qualifying from last year so we are happy we can ride like that and have a good pace for tomorrow. We want to try to make our own pace, make some last adjustments in the Warm Up, it will be important to end that with a good feeling. Try to make the race and hope the weather can be good. It was difficult today, it wasn’t ok for wet tyres or dry tyres – it was too risky to go out. For me it’s safety first and it’s tricky conditions. The plan to prepare the race – full tank, used tyres – was for FP4. So we’re disappointed we couldn’t do that and we’ll try tomorrow. For everyone who can’t do the work they want, it’s always a bit disappointing.”
Andrea Iannone, P2: “For us it’s important to start from the first row and it’s the best for tomorrow. But it’s difficult for us because we don’t know what will happen in the race. Maverick and Marc have good pace we saw from the test, and we have to recover. Tomorrow we’ll try our best in the first lap and in the race. But the practice before is also important because we need the information to improve. Today safety is more important and it’s too dangerous to go out on track. It’s the same for everyone and the most important thing now is tomorrow.”
Marc Marquez, P3: “Today it’s important because it’s time to prepare for the race. For us, yesterday we tried a lot of things. On the first day I felt good with one base, yesterday I tried a lot of things and today was the time to look at it all and prepare for the race. But it’s the weather and we can’t do anything. It’s too dangerous because it’s been heavy rain all night and this morning so we’ll see tomorrow. Starting on the front row for me is a good result – it’s not the best way to achieve it – but it’s a good result and tomorrow we’ll try to fight for the podium. Warm Up will be important – but here we’ve done more than 300 laps this weekend, and during the test. Everyone knows what the possibilities are for the race – and we know a podium would be a great result for us. I don’t know if the grip will change a lot for us tomorrow or not. I think for us in MotoGP the grip will be ok because before we have the Moto3 and Moto2 races. But I hope they can dry the track, and that the weather keeps stable until tomorrow – and we’ll see how the grip is. We can find the feeling again, and then start the season well.”
Text and images courtesy of MotoGP.