Weather forecasts currently predict rain on Friday and Saturday at this weekend's Austrian MotoGP.

That's a cause for concern after eleven Moto2 riders fell in the space of half-an-hour during a wet FP1 at last year's event, most of them front-end falls at Turns 1 (six riders) and 3 (three riders).

At the time there were murmurs some MotoGP competitors would refuse to ride if similar slick conditions occurred in any of their track sessions. Fortunately, the rain departed and the rest of the event ran as planned.

But what if this year's rain forecast proves correct?

"We'll wait and then we'll petition not to race or something like that, because if it's the same as last year - can you imagine riding at 300k down the start-finish straight with a wall next to you where all the Moto2 guys fell off last year?" said Cal Crutchlow.

"And we brake way harder than them. So you can imagine the outcome. The barriers are close etc. If it would have rained last year, there were a few of us that weren't racing and that was it. We'll see how it goes this weekend."

One theory as to why the track was so slippery in the wet - but fine in the dry - is that the cold Speilberg winters mean the asphalt has been 'sealed' more tightly than usual, to keep water out which might otherwise cause damage when frozen.

Crutchlow added that hopes of safer wet conditions in 2018 will depend on the outcome of attempts made by the circuit to increase the grip.

"Apparently they've made a modification to the track. As in the surface or whatever. We'll see," said the Englishman. "Problem is you won't see if it's worked when the Moto3 guys go out because they don't brake like us. You'll see when we go out, or Moto2.

"I don't like the place. It's as simple as that. and I know about 20 riders that don't either. For a motorcycle, it's not a great track."

Asked for his opinion of rain riding at the Red Bull Ring, Repsol Honda Dani Pedrosa said: "For sure it's not the perfect scenario."

Czech Republic MotoGP winner Andrea Dovizioso confirmed: "Last year, everybody expected to have a big problem if we have to ride in the wet… Is it going to rain this year?"

Told about the Friday and Saturday forecast the Italian looked downbeat - but was happier when he heard the race should be dry: "Good!"

Ducati chasing three-in-a-row in Austria

Ducati has won both races held at the Red Bull Ring since the circuit returned to the MotoGP calendar, courtesy of victories by Andrea Iannone and then Dovizioso.

Can anyone stop the Ducati run in 2018?

"It doesn’t look so hopeful because of what we saw this weekend [at Brno] with regards to how they can accelerate and brake," replied Crutchlow. "But you never know.

"I think as you saw on Sunday, me, Marc, Valentino have a 'never say die' attitude where we try and fight as much as possible. And if we can do that next weekend it'll be an interesting battle.

"But it seems that us fighting can only go so far when [Ducati] are gaining in the straight-line, not necessarily anywhere else or everywhere else. But I think we'll be in a lot better shape than last year.

"As you know, our bike is strong this year and I think it'll be stronger for Spielberg. Last year I had a disaster, worst race of the year, but I'll change that this year…"

Honda's title leader Marc Marquez, who holds a 49-points title lead over Yamaha's Valentino Rossi heading into this year's race, lost out to Dovizioso by just 0.176s during a thrilling showdown in Austria last year.


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