Silverstone MotoGP race rescheduled amid rain threat
MotoGP's British Grand Prix will be held 90 minutes earlier than originally scheduled on Sunday due to the threat of heavy rain.
Instead of taking place at 1300 local time, the Silverstone race will instead be held at 1130, prior to the Moto2 and Moto3 races. Moto3 will now run at 1300, followed by Moto2 at 1430, weather allowing.
Warm-up for the premier class has also been moved to 0900, 30 minutes earlier than planned.
Rain is expected virtually throughout the day on Sunday at Silverstone, but is forecast to be at its heaviest around 1300.
It comes after a heavy shower prior to qualifying during FP4 doused the track and led to a multi-rider crash at Stowe corner that resulted in Avintia Ducati rider Tito Rabat being hit by another bike and taken to hospital.
Multiple riders voiced their opinion after qualifying that the race could not have safely taken place in similar conditions.
Honda rider Marc Marquez said the bumpy resurfaced track posed a particular problem in wet conditions, allowing more standing water to build in unusual parts of the circuit.
The reigning champion said: "I don’t like to say this, because I love racing, but if conditions are like in FP4, we cannot race. And tomorrow the forecast is for much more water. The aquaplaning was amazing.
"The problem is the bumps. The water gets inside the bumps, then you have aquaplaning where you don’t expect, because you don’t have the same amount of water everywhere. Where the bumps are, there is much more water."
Other riders, including Valentino Rossi, also suggested the new surface not draining properly was also causing problems.
Prior to the decision being announced, Cal Crutchlow suggested the best course of action would have been to delay the race to Monday, which is a public holiday in the UK.
"It could be a disaster, because today was forecast under one millimetre of rain," said the LCR rider. "Tomorrow is forecast 16, 15mm of rain. So either we'll be racing on the Monday or we'll see you in Misano.
"If you wanna see a race, it's a bank holiday Monday, just stay here. That's my opinion, because honestly speaking I don't think you can ride in a circuit that was like Turn 7 for the rest of the circuit – you wouldn't even make it round."
But Tech 3 Yamaha's Johann Zarco, who qualified third, warned that the change to the schedule may not be enough to ensure the race takes place if persistent rain in the morning douses the track.
"If it's raining from the morning, six o' clock, and then keeps raining, even not strong but all day, it won't be possible I think to race because there will be too much water on the track," said the Frenchman.
"It was just raining, I don't know, five or 10 minutes, it was one big cloud and this make big trouble. If tomorrow we have constant rain, I think it's not possible."
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