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Valentino Rossi: Move Australian MotoGP to start of season

"I think it's a good idea to come here to start the championship in March, or after Qatar, when we can have good weather" - Valentino Rossi.
Valentino Rossi has renewed calls for the Australian MotoGP to be moved from its regular October date to earlier in the season.

Friday's Phillip Island action was blighted by torrid weather, resulting in the cancellation of FP2.

While rain will always be a threat at the seaside circuit, it is compounded by the likelihood of cold temperatures in October, which is the end of winter/start of spring in Melbourne.

While last year's event saw pleasant track temperatures of at least 17-degrees, they reached a low of 12-degrees on Friday, with an air temperature of just 10 degrees.

"It's a great shame, because it's a fantastic place and a special track," Rossi said. "But like always we come in a dangerous moment of the season, so you can be lucky - like last year - but more times you can be unlucky and it is winter.

"The problem is a lot of water, but especially the temperature because when the temperature of the asphalt is so cool it is very dangerous.

"I am one of the riders that pushed to change the date of this grand prix, from five or six years ago, because it is a great shame to come here in the winter. It would be a shame anywhere, but here particularly because it's a great track and if you have sun - also for television and for ride the bike - is something fantastic for MotoGP. But we come here in ten degrees."

Melbourne's summer is from December to February.

The main problem with moving the grand prix to an early-season date is that Melbourne hosts the season-opening F1 race in March. Rossi feels this should no longer be used as an excuse.

"I push a lot, but Carmelo [Ezpeleta, Dorna] always say to me it is impossible to modify the date because the Formula One is in March and the people that organise the Formula One are the same that organise the MotoGP.

"Is a shame because for example in Japan it happens; so one week is Formula One and the next MotoGP. And this year also in Italy; Monza-Misano. Full of people, everything is good. I think it's a good idea to come here to start the championship in March or after Qatar, when we can have good weather.

"I try, but I don't have enough power.

"It would be better for the riders, for the fans, for everybody. Because last year was a great weekend; 20 degrees, always sun. But is a lot more possible [to have] this weather, than last year's weather.

"The problem with this track is that it is very fast always and big stress on the left and not enough on the right of the tyre. So you have always to keep attention. The track is not particularly dangerous, but in Europe you have 25-degrees on the asphalt and here you can have 10. So the problem is the weather not the track."

Both an official MotoGP test and the season-opening World Superbike round are currently held at Phillip Island in February. With Dorna owning the commercial rights to both MotoGP and WorldSBK, this would not be the main obstacle to a date change for the GP.

Saturday's FP3 session will be extended by 15-minutes due to the cancellation of FP2. The weather forecasts currently predict a gradual improvement in conditions as the weekend goes on.

By Peter McLaren

Tagged as: Valentino Rossi

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October 21, 2016 2:15 PM

Those waiting to attack every time a rider not of their choice open his mouth just sounds silly. Try to see if there's a point and VR did make a valid point. At least those that have physically been to PI or Melbourne knows how PI weather can be like. In end Oct the weather do tend to be very cold more often than you get lucky with a fine weather. For such a spectacular track like PI it indeed is a shame if the race is held in less than favorable conditions.

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