By Stephen English
With qualifying having taken place under the constant threat of a rain shower, tomorrow's Spanish MotoGP at Jerez will see the riders and teams focussing a lot of their attention on the weather forecast.
Following a difficult opening two days, where riders were tested with track conditions varying from dry to wet, and the dreaded middle ground, the track surface has been a major talking point for the riders.
“I don't think the surface is good for wet conditions,” commented world champion Casey Stoner. “It destroys tyres and it also makes things difficult when you are going from a wet tyre to a slick so it's going to be tricky.”
The Australian wasn't alone in voicing his concerns with Ben Spies also keen to discuss the difficulties of riding in the treacherous conditions.
“You couldn't see some of the damp patches,” said the Texan before continuing. “When you're racing and qualifying you're spending a lot of time trying to find the right lines. There were two damp patches [at turn one] right on the line.”
Even though he set the pole position time, Factory Yamaha star Jorge Lorenzo also felt the effects of riding between the damp patches at Jerez.
“You must be very focussed to understand where you can push,” said the Spaniard. “It will be very interesting to see the weather tomorrow.”
If the race starts in damp conditions the flag-to-flag rule will be implemented and riders will only be able to change bikes if they leave the pits on a different type of tyre.
Last year in a race on a drying track the tyres were destroyed early in proceedings and due to the time loss of pitting riders were unwilling to change tyres.
A late race shower saw a spate of crashes, including Spies, and with the prospect of a similar set of circumstances emerging tomorrow the prospect is clearly weighing heavily on the minds of the riders.