A rare rain shower in the Qatar desert saw Fiat Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo complete just one lap each on the first night of MotoGP testing at the Losail International circuit.
Testing commenced under the floodlights at 1800 but the rain began as soon as Rossi and Lorenzo ventured out on track, with neither of them able to get a fast lap in.
The cool night time temperatures meant the asphalt was unable to dry sufficiently from then on and, although some riders ventured back out later in the evening, the factory Yamaha pair decided not to risk a patchy track surface and their activities were suspended until tomorrow.
“Five minutes of rain really gave us a lot of problems today,” said reigning six time world champion Rossi. “First we waited and then finally we decided to abandon it. I hope tomorrow it's back to normal because this was our worst race last year and we need the time to see where we are and continue to improve with our new package.”
“I went out and on the third lap it started to rain - I couldn't believe it!” admitted Lorenzo. “It seems strange to have rain in the desert and it's been a nightmare for the team because we have lost a whole day. I hope it's better tomorrow because I really want to try the new electronic system and also I need to keep working to improve with the Bridgestone tyres.”
Ducati Marlboro's Nicky Hayden led the eleven riders that set a fast lap time, although the American's best was five seconds off lap record pace due to the damp and dirty track conditions.