The first race of the 2009 125cc grand prix season has been red-flagged after just four full laps due to torrential rain at the Losail circuit, in Qatar.

Racing at Qatar does not take place in the wet due to visibility problems caused by glare from the floodlights.

Pole sitter Julian Simon had just taken the lead from Iannone at the time of the weather change. Simon then fell due to the rain, but was able to get his bike back to the pits and be credited with second position.

After some safety car laps, with Valentino Rossi among the passengers, it was decided to abandon the race and award half points.

The result was thus taken from the end of the last complete lap before the race was stopped, when the order was: Iannone (Aprilia), Simon (Aprilia), Cortese (Derbi), Espargaro (Derbi), Smith (Aprilia), Folger (Aprilia), Terol (Aprilia), Bradl (Aprilia), Webb (Aprilia), Rabat (Aprilia).

Factory KTM star Marc Marquez had earlier escaped serious injury in a spectacular highside, after running wide onto the artificial grass on the exit of a fast right-hander, while battling for third.

It now remains to be seen if the rain will stop, and track dry sufficiently, to allow the 250 and MotoGP events to go ahead as planned.