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Qatar MotoGP rescheduled.

The season-opening Qatar MotoGP, cancelled due to rain on Sunday night, will now take place at 9pm on Monday night.

Sunday night's racing schedule began ominously when a storm halted the 125cc race after just four full laps, while the following 250cc race was reduced to 13 laps after a delayed start to allow the track to dry.

Continuous heavy rain then returned just before the scheduled 11pm MotoGP race start, prompting the event to be cancelled - but with 'postponement to Monday under consideration'.

Racing at Qatar does not take place in the rain due to glare from the floodlights causing visibly problems for the riders.

A meeting between the teams and Race Direction was held at midnight to decide if and when a re-run would take place. After a long wait, it was finally announced that the race will be held on Monday at 9pm, with a warm-up session taking place at 6.30pm.

"For safety reasons it was not possible to race in the night due to the reflection of the lights on the track," confirmed FIM Road-racing Commission president Claude Danis. "This decision had already been taken a few years ago when we first decided to run a night race in Qatar. On behalf of the FIM I am very happy that we could postpone the race until tomorrow. It is important for the championship, especially at the first race, and I would like to thank Dorna, QMMF, IRTA and the MotoGP teams for helping reach this decision together."

"The QMMF offered us the choice to run the race tomorrow, and as it was a very important decision we wanted to consult with all the team managers," added Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta. "The postponement was accepted by a large majority. This has been an extraordinary decision in extraordinary circumstances".

It is assumed that Monday's weather forecast was checked in detail before selecting the new start time. Rain also fell during last month's Qatar pre-season test and again on Saturday night, but had previously never interrupted a grand prix track session.

The re-run means flights, hotels, freight - and TV coverage - will now need to be hastily rearranged.

Aside from simply scrapping the race (which may have had contractual implications) and reducing the 2009 world championship to 16 rounds, another option was to return in September, in place of the already cancelled Hungarian round, but that would have been even more costly than a Monday re-run.

Holding the race during the daytime on Monday would have reduced the amount of rescheduling required, but create tyre and set-up problems due to the much hotter temperatures.

The first (and so far only) MotoGP night race was held at Qatar one year ago. Singapore then held the first F1 night race later in the year.

Sunday's experience means it is doubtful that any other circuits will join Qatar in hosting a MotoGP night race, unless the problems associated with wet weather riding at night can be solved.

Racing at night in Qatar requires enough light to cover an area equivalent to 70 football pitches.

The last grand prix to be cancelled was in 1980 when the Austrian Grand Prix at the Salzburgring did not start because of heavy snow.


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Paddock in rain, Qatar MotoGP 2009
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Bear - Unregistered

April 13, 2009 1:03 AM

bet you the fact that all MotoGP teams are staying on means the guys who run Qatar (with the largest cheque books in the world judging their apparent smiles at the lighting costs and next to zero attendants) will be footing the bill for all the logistical costs involved.... sigh... money solves everything right? Still think it's a sheet idea, go back to days!



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