Riders have requested an earlier start time for the 2018 Australian MotoGP, to try and minimise cold-tyre crashes due to plummeting temperatures.

In recent years the Phillip Island race has started at 4pm, which is when practice and qualifying finishes, to better suit European TV audiences.

On Friday, defending event winner Cal Crutchlow revealed:

"It's not a great situation, because last year, 19 of us sat in the Safety Commission, and there were the other four or five that weren't there, and we agreed that we were going to race at 3pm this year, because it's safer, the track doesn't cool off that much. And then we arrive here and it says 4pm race start. So I don't really understand what went on there."

After Saturday's qualifying, the front row of Marc Marquez, Maverick Vinales and Johann Zarco confirmed that another request has been made.

"Yeah, it's something that already we discussed last year and for us, the riders, it's much better to start maximum at 3pm," said Marquez, who fell from the lead in both 2014 and 2016. "Because from 4-5pm every year we have the same problem; the temperature is dropping a lot. So we hope that from the future it will change to 3pm."

"As Marc said, we discussed yesterday and all the riders were agreed," Vinales added. "At 4pm, especially for the last laps of the race, the temperature goes down. So for safety and for us it's better to do the race at 3pm."

"It’s complicated because we didn’t ride at the moment at 4 o'clock in the afternoon and the temperature can drop," commented Zarco.

The Frenchman later quipped: "But if I'm on the podium, for me 4 o'clock is good!"


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