Reigning six time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi has criticised the decision to hold the Japanese Grand Prix in April, after rain forced Saturday's qualifying to be cancelled - and thinks Sunday's race will now be the 'most uncertain ever'.
The Motegi event had been held towards the end of the year from 2000-2008, but has been moved forward to round two for this season.
Saturday's cancellation was the second major rain disruption in as many events, with the season-opening Qatar night race delayed until Monday due to desert rain.
“It is unbelievable,” said Rossi. “Last year almost every grand prix had some rain, but this year is even worse. We had the problem in Qatar and here it is a disaster.
“For sure it is not a great idea to come to Motegi in April because the weather is always quite bad,” he declared.
Fortunately, the weather is expected to improve for Sunday when, with grid positions now decided by free practice times, Rossi will start on pole ahead of Qatar winner Casey Stoner and Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.
Rossi had been a close second fastest to Colin Edwards in Saturday morning's wet practice session.
"So now we're going into a race after just 45 minutes in the dry and 45 minutes in the wet, and I think maybe it will be one of the most uncertain races ever!" said Rossi. "We're lucky because we had a good session in the dry yesterday and so we're on pole, which is very important for the race here but it's still impossible to be at 100% after such a short time and with so little data.
"In the wet this morning our setting worked well also so I think we can fight whether it's dry or wet, and after all it's the same for everybody. Of course I would prefer it to be dry but above all I hope it's not half and half, I hope it's either fully wet or fully dry otherwise it will be even more difficult."
"Now it looks like it will be dry tomorrow but our setting yesterday was not bad so we hope we can make the most of this pole position," added team manager Davide Brivio. "It will be interesting to see how we can perform in this race with so little track time."
Sunday's race is due to be the 700th in the premier-class. The Japanese Grand Prix is the home event for Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Hayate (Kawasaki).
Update: Sunday's warm-up session has been extended from 20 to 40 minutes to make up for some of the lost track time.