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MotoGP Indian GP

MotoGP Indian GP sprint facing rain delay and additional practice

The inaugural MotoGP Indian Grand Prix sprint race is facing a delay due to a heavy downpour at the Buddh International Circuit, with an additional practice planned.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

This weekend marks the first time in MotoGP history that the series is racing in India, utilising the former Formula 1 venue about 50km away from New Delhi.

Weather conditions have already proved punishing for riders, with the extreme heat experienced in practice on Friday prompting a change to race distances.

Today’s sprint was scheduled to be run over 12 laps, but will now take place over 11, while the grand prix has been shortened by three laps.

Reigning world champion Francesco Bagnaia told the media on Friday that it felt like his throat and his legs were burning while he rode down the back straight.

Moments before Q2 for the Moto3 class was due to get under way on Saturday afternoon, a heavy downpour has forced a lengthy delay to qualifying action.

With the MotoGP sprint due to get under way at 11am BST, racing action is likely to be delayed should conditions clear enough for the Moto3 and Moto2 qualifying sessions to be completed.

Due to the lack of wet data on the Buddh track, MotoGP riders have agreed that in the event of rain there will be an additional practice in the conditions before the sprint.

Stefan Bradl, Repsol Honda Team

Stefan Bradl, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

An update from Dorna Sports confirmed the plan.

“15 minutes after the end of Moto2 Q2, pitlane will open for a 15-minute MotoGP session in the wet,” the update read.

“20 minutes after the end of the MotoGP wet session, pitlane will open for one minute for a quick start procedure for the Tissot Sprint, If it’s wet after M2.”

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A number of riders have already expressed concern about the safety of the Buddh circuit in wet conditions due to the proximity of barriers to the circuit in some places.

Honda’s Joan Mir noted on Friday: “We know this track is on the limit in terms of safety in many areas. But, at the moment, in the dry conditions it’s quite ok. It will be different in the wet.”

Following the wet practice, which was topped by Jorge Martin on slick tyres, MotoGP announced a further delay to the sprint.

Originally scheduled to get under way at 4:38pm (12:08pm BST) local time, pitlane will now open at 5pm local time (12:30pm BST).

The delay has been prompted by the startline not being dry enough to be started on with slick tyres for the entire field.

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