By Stephen English
Difficult track conditions affected the qualifying for Sunday's MotoGP race at Sepang with rain falling during Q1 and leaving one section of the Sepang track wet during the all-important Q2 session.
Turns six and seven were especially treacherous as a result of the shower, with riders unable to push to the limit through the corner comfortably. But the leading riders all later agreed that it was right to start the session as planned.
Pole sitter and championship leader Marc Marquez answered unequivocally by saying, "This is racing and if it's wet in some parts of the track you have to try and manage."
His fellow front row starters both agreed that it was right for the session to have started on time, with Valentino Rossi saying:
"A lot of times we have started in worse conditions than today and had to use the slick tyres," commented the nine time world champion. "The problem with today was that it was just a little bit wet, so maybe you don't expect [a lack of grip] but it was the right decision."
Cal Crutchlow posed an interesting counter question, pointing out that conditions might have got worse had the session been delayed.
"It was the right decision to start the practice because if they wait what happens if it rains in another two corners?" asked Crutchlow. "Then we could be in a worse position. The start finish might be dry and the rest of the track wet and then what do you do? So I think it was fine to start the session.”
Crutchlow went on to comment that Sepang also offers a unique challenge for riders with the track surface making it difficult to see the wet sections of the lap:
"With this track surface we can't really see that it has rained because it doesn't go dark so it's a difficult situation but hopefully we'll get a clean dry race."
Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso also commented that the bright nature of the surface made it very difficult for riders: