Andrea Dovizioso has backed the decision to postpone qualifying for the Australian MotoGP due to high winds as he feared conditions would have meant riders taking “a risk without really having control of the bike”.

The Ducati rider was part of the majority who backed the call to cancel qualifying following FP4’s red flag stoppage moments after Miguel Oliveira crashed at Turn 1 after being blown off the circuit by a strong gust.

After an emergency Safety Commission meeting involving all MotoGP riders, a vote was held to delay qualifying until Sunday morning to target better weather conditions.

The Italian rider feared similar accidents to Oliveira’s were likely if qualifying was run in the same conditions given the potentially disastrous combination of riders pushing for a fast lap in Q1 and Q2 with unpredictable gusts of wind at Phillip Island’s high-speed and twisty circuit.

“Unfortunately it has happened too many times where we ride with a lot of wind here at Phillip Island and this is the worst track to have that kind of wind,” Dovizioso said. “You have to keep the angle almost everywhere, so to manage the bike with the angle and that wind it wasn’t regular.

“How strong the wind was the problem but it was even worse because it wasn’t regular. That was the point.

“I think it was the right decision not to run qualifying because, yes, everybody can ride like this but I think most of the riders have to take a risk without really having control of the bike. You can’t really control it with the wind like this in every situation so I think it was the right decision.”

Having seen the rapid development of wings and aerodynamic fairings in MotoGP, Dovizioso feels the new parts give contrasting effects to the current era of Grand Prix motorcycles in strong winds.

“I think there are positives and negatives from the wings,” he said. “You have more of the front wheel on the ground with the wings so I think that is better but maybe with the wind there is more surface to push the bike. It is very difficult to know exactly how much is good and bad.”

If qualifying cannot be run on Sunday morning the starting grid for the Australian GP will be decided by the combined free practice results which would see Dovizioso take second place behind pole-sitter Maverick Vinales.

 

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