MotoGP riders' efforts to change Qatar Grand Prix start time fail

The 2019 MotoGP season-opening Qatar Grand Prix will stick to its planned start time, after riders' final attempt to push through a late schedule change on safety grounds was rejected

MotoGP riders' efforts to change Qatar Grand Prix start time fail

The start time for the Losail race had been moved an hour later compared to 2018 but many riders called for this to be reversed, as experiences from pre-season testing had left them concerned about late-evening track conditions.

After an initial push to bring the race start forward again was resisted before the weekend, top riders again lobbied for the change and vowed to bring it up in Friday's Safety Commission meeting.

Yet despite what appeared to be widespread support for a 7pm start, it has now been confirmed that the race will kick off at 8pm local time as scheduled.

Friday's second practice had kicked off at 8.05pm after a small delay and featured few dramas, with only Franco Morbidelli suffering a fast crash at Turn 1 - while Marc Marquez set the fastest-ever lap at the circuit.

Speaking before the Safety Commission, LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow said the conditions had been "perfect" in second practice, yet stressed that even light rainfall during the weekend could cause dew to build up - which would lead to higher humidity while track temperatures dropped.

"Track temperature, as we saw in the Moto2 test last week, 17-18 degrees [Celsius] at 8pm," he said.

"In our test there was I don't know how many, 12 crashes, after 7.30pm. You can imagine our feeling about it.

"I love this race, I love Qatar, the way that they do it.

"It makes a good race, but if the dew on the track is like sometimes it can be, they won't have any finishers.

"No matter how fast or slow you ride, there would be no finishers - if it is really, really bad like we've seen."

His LCR team-mate Takaaki Nakagami agreed with Crutchlow, saying: "For sure 7pm will be better, more safety.

"Around the end of the race, around 8.30pm, conditions almost completely change - even during the test, [around] 8 o'clock, I had a crash, the feelings in the front tyre completely change."

Existing television commitments were reportedly key to race direction's refusal to grant a change in start time.

It is, however, understood that series promoter Dorna has assured riders it will explore the possibility to revert to a 7pm start next year.

shares
comments
Qatar MotoGP: Marc Marquez dominates second practice for Honda
Previous article

Qatar MotoGP: Marc Marquez dominates second practice for Honda

Next article

Silverstone to be resurfaced again before 2019 F1 and MotoGP races

Silverstone to be resurfaced again before 2019 F1 and MotoGP races
Load comments
The Rossi-less future MotoGP must now navigate Plus

The Rossi-less future MotoGP must now navigate

Motorcycle racing's greatest showman has left the stage, as Valentino Rossi calls time on his remarkable career on two wheels. But in his successors, all of whom were inspired by 'the Doctor', grand prix racing has vibrant new acts to keep us hooked

MotoGP
Dec 4, 2021
Valentino Rossi’s 10 greatest MotoGP races Plus

Valentino Rossi’s 10 greatest MotoGP races

As the Italian legend finally bows out and retires from MotoGP, it marks the end of one of the most incredible careers in motorsport history. Here is Autosport’s pick of his best rides and the stories behind them

MotoGP
Dec 3, 2021
How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race Plus

How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race

The 2021 MotoGP season may have only just ended but preparations for 2022 are well underway following a two-day test at Jerez this week. Ducati has hit the ground running while a lack of progress dominated Yamaha’s and world champion Fabio Quartararo’s test. While no battle lines have been drawn yet for 2022, it appears Ducati has already drawn first blood...

MotoGP
Nov 20, 2021
Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late Plus

Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late

Suzuki is on the search for a new team manager after its decision not to replace Davide Brivio at the start of 2021 was backed up by its unsuccessful bid to help Joan Mir defend his 2020 MotoGP world title. But whoever Shinichi Sahara appoints next, it may have already come too late to convince Mir to stick with the project

MotoGP
Nov 19, 2021
How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career Plus

How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career

The greatest chapter in MotoGP history came to a close at the Valencia Grand Prix as Valentino Rossi bid farewell after 26 seasons of grand prix racing. While his run to a strong 10th was a pleasing end to his time in MotoGP, it was what happened at the front of the grid that capped the Italian's ideal send-off

MotoGP
Nov 15, 2021
Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove Plus

Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove

OPINION: MotoGP-bound Darryn Binder was already under the microscope as his jump from Moto3 to join RNF's new top-class team was announced. But his crash with title hopeful Dennis Foggia caused significant consternation among the ranks - with many current riders suggesting the top level should be harder to break into as a result

MotoGP
Nov 9, 2021
How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo’s MotoGP title defence Plus

How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo’s MotoGP title defence

Fabio Quartararo’s first DNF of his title-winning 2021 MotoGP season couldn’t have come at a better time. But the events of the Yamaha rider’s Algarve Grand Prix exposed the M1’s well-known major weakness, which could threaten his championship defence given the increasingly Ducati-heavy makeup of the grid heading into 2022

MotoGP
Nov 8, 2021
The financial implications fuelling junior bike racing's dangerous aggression Plus

The financial implications fuelling junior bike racing's dangerous aggression

The pressure shouldered by young riders is at the root of the increased on-track aggression seen in lower categories of late, which motorcycling's governing bodies want to curb with new rules. But will stopping under-18s from racing in the world championship and capping grid sizes prevent the often desperate acts of youths pursuing their MotoGP dreams?

MotoGP
Nov 2, 2021