MotoGP riders say wet Qatar race would be feasible

Leading MotoGP riders have said they believe hosting a night-time race in Qatar would be feasible after a wet test session was held on Saturday evening.

MotoGP riders say wet Qatar race would be feasible
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Wet track preparations
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati Team
Cal Crutchlow, Team LCR
Watering the track for the wet simulation
Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team
Watering the track for the wet simulation

The final hour of pre-season testing was set aside for wet running, with the Losail International Circuit being artificially soaked in order for riders to be able to assess whether a wet race at the floodlit Middle Eastern venue would be safe. 

It follows last year’s rain-affected Qatar weekend, in which qualifying was called off altogether and the race delayed and shortened.

Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi said he did not follow any other riders during the half-hour test, but said he felt both visibility and grip were good enough to be able to race.

“It is okay, I think that we can do [a race],” said Rossi. “I was alone so I don't know with the group but my feeling is that also during the night you can ride without big problems.

“Also it looks like the grip of the track is quite normal with water, so I think that we can do.”

Honda’s Marc Marquez echoed Rossi’s sentiments, saying: “For me the visibility is not like a normal track, it’s a little bit special and you need to understand.

“[It’s] more difficult to see, especially the kerbs, but for safety I feel ok. I only did one lap, already I feel the track [was] slippery, but if it rains on race day, it’s possible to run.”

Johann Zarco, who was quickest of all on the final test day, said the relatively high temperatures in Qatar meant any rain would quickly evaporate, eliminating any concerns about grip levels.

“About the rain, I think all the paddock now is ready to race,” said the Tech 3 Yamaha rider, who led at the Losail track last year on his MotoGP debut before crashing out.

“The problem, the question mark, was the vision, how we could see with the light on the wet. But this thing is going quite well, and is not giving us problems.

“Then about the grip, even if it's raining there with the warm temperature, the warm track, we will never have a full wet track, I think it's going to get dry quickly.”

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont

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