Reigning six-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi has backed the decision to re-run the cancelled Qatar Grand Prix on Monday night.
Sunday's night planned start to the 2009 MotoGP season had to be abandoned due to heavy desert rain.
“This is a real disappointment because we were fired up to race and it was so close to the start!” said Rossi, who was already lined up alongside pole sitter Casey Stoner when the rain began falling. “After the rain stopped the [earlier] 125 race we thought we had escaped because the track then dried but then the rain came down even harder just in time for MotoGP. It's so unlucky because you don't expect this in the desert.”
Rossi believes that after so much effort and preparation it is better to have a Monday re-run than walk away having done nothing.
“After six months without racing and after two days of practice and so much work by everyone it's very frustrating and this is why it was important to take the decision to race tomorrow,” he explained.
“It will be strange because I don't think there's ever been a Monday race! It will also be hard to wait another day, and the pressure will be more, but I am happy that we will get the chance to ride.
“Of course now we have to keep our fingers crossed for the weather tomorrow, but the forecast says it will be ok! The other important thing is that something is done to clean the track, because it will be very dirty after this. Maybe we should all have a race with the hire cars in the morning!” he joked.
Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who will complete Monday's front row, was also in favour.
“I am happy with the decision to race tomorrow because I really want to ride,,” said the young Spaniard, second in last season's inaugural night race. “For us it's not such a big problem to delay, and it's better than wasting a whole weekend's work. I am disappointed because I was ready, but we cannot help the weather and unfortunately here it's impossible to ride in the rain. It would have been a great pity not to have a race, so now we just need to stay focused.”
“After considerable internal discussion with Masahiko Nakajima, Davide Brivio, Daniele Romagnoli and of course Valentino and Jorge, Fiat Yamaha's decision was to fully support the proposal to race tomorrow,” confirmed Yamaha Motor Racing managing director Lin Jarvis. “We have put in so much effort, with a test here first and then these five days of work, that we feel it's important to stay and put on a race and a show.
“Obviously it causes great inconvenience for everyone from a logistical point of view because we have to change flights and hotels for all of our staff, but we are ready to do it for the good of our sport.”
The decision to hold a Monday re-run was 'accepted by a large majority'.
The race will now be run at 9pm local time on Monday night, with a warm-up at 6.30pm.