RAIN STRIKES AGAIN AS QUALIFYING CANCELLED AT MOTEGI Just two weeks on from the postponement of the opening round of the MotoGP World Championship in Qatar due to rain, the series was hit by another freak weather setback in Japan as a torrential...
RAIN STRIKES AGAIN AS QUALIFYING CANCELLED AT MOTEGI
Just two weeks on from the postponement of the opening round of the MotoGP World Championship in Qatar due to rain, the series was hit by another freak weather setback in Japan as a torrential downpour led to the cancellation of this afternoon's qualifying practice.
With this morning's session having been hit by rain, when Ducati Marlboro riders Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden lapped third and sixth fastest respectively, yesterday afternoon's cold but dry opening session was decisive, meaning Stoner will start from the front row in second place with his American team-mate back in 12th.
As a result of the reduced track time today, tomorrow's warm-up has been extended to 40 minutes for the MotoGP class.
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 2nd (1'48.601)
"It would be strange to go through a whole season and have one session that you can't ride in, so it's amazing that we've had this situation occur in each of the opening two rounds. It's unbelievable, the rain we've had, and I'd probably be feeling angry and frustrated right now if it wasn't for the fact we're on the front row! It is a difficult situation for everybody to have had so little track time here but we're all, almost literally, in the same boat! With just 45 minutes of dry time and 45 minutes of wet there are obviously plenty of areas we feel with could improve the bike but, like I say, it is the same situation for all the riders. I'm confident we have a set-up to do decent lap times in both the wet and the dry. In any case it's good to have a longer warm up tomorrow morning and I hope the circuit will be dry".
NICKY HAYDEN -- (Ducati Marlboro Team) 12th (1'50.393)
"It's a shame for everybody to have this situation two races in a row. The fans, the teams, the riders... everybody wants to see us line up out there and go into battle so it's a real shame. This morning was the first chance I've really had to ride the bike in the rain -- I've ridden it in damp conditions but never really in full rain -- and I got steadily faster and faster as the session went on. We made some changes that consistently improved the bike and to be honest with you I was looking forward to qualifying in the wet. I liked my chances better in the wet today and I'm not sure what conditions I'd prefer for the race. The forecast is saying it will be dry and after today I think the fans deserve it. For me the circumstances have been unlucky because I need track time with the bike and tyres, especially when we going to tracks for the first time, but it's race day tomorrow so whatever the weather brings the aim is to just get a good start, go for it and see what happens. Good to know that the warm up will be 40 minutes!"