Qualifying was cancelled at the Losail International Circuit on Saturday night after heavy overnight rain meant that the track was unsuitable for any Moto action to be declared as safe. Therefore, the times stand from free practice 3 and new Yamaha rider, maverick Vinales has secured the first pole of the season!
Vinales was looking forward to getting a feel for the conditions in an extra 20-minute Free Practice session, before putting a final hand to his bikes' race settings in FP4 and entering Q2.
However, safety concerns caused by the mixed track conditions, standing water at places where the riders are at maximum lean angle, and the reflection of the glaring floodlights on wet tarmac caused the additional practice session to be cancelled.
With the weather remaining uncertain, the riders had no other option than to wait for either a dry race line to form, so they could go out on slicks, or for the rain to start in earnest, allowing them to put on wets. When there was still no sign of improvement in the weather conditions and the state of the track after 20:15pm (GMT+3) Race Direction was forced to call off all action for the evening.
“This is a very disappointing turn of events, not just for us, but for everyone involved and especially the fans, who are looking forward to starting off the season in full force,” said Yamaha’s Massimo Meregalli. “However, there was nothing to be done about today‘s situation. With the circuit surface not being suitable for either wet or dry tyres, the best cause of action is to cancel the qualifying sessions and continue the normal racing schedule tomorrow.”
“It‘s a pity that we couldn‘t use today‘s session time to our advantage, but on the bright side we get to congratulate Maverick with his first MotoGP pole position at only his first Grand Prix weekend with Yamaha. The decision to use the combined free practice standings is less fortunate for Valentino, who will start from tenth place, but we know his great capacity to cut through the field during the race. Tomorrow the warm-up session will be crucial to prepare for the race, because for sure the conditions of the track will be completely different than at the start of the event.”
The grid for the first race is as follows:
- Maverick VIÑALES, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
- 2. Andrea IANNONE, Team Suzuki Racing
3. Marc MARQUEZ, Repsol Honda Team
4. Johann ZARCO, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati Team
6. Scott REDDING, OCTO Pramac Racing
7. Dani PEDROSA, Repsol Honda Team
8. Jonas FOLGER, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
9. Cal CRUTCHLOW, LCR Honda
10. Valentino ROSSI, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
11. Danilo PETRUCCI, OCTO Pramac Racing
12. Jorge LORENZO, Ducati Team
13. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Pull&Bear Aspar Team
14. Loris BAZ, Reale Avintia Racing
15. Aleix ESPARGARO, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
16. Jack MILLER , EG 0,0 Marc VDS
17. Karel ABRAHAM, Pull&Bear Aspar Team
18. Alex RINS, Team Suzuki Racing
19. Tito RABAT, EG 0,0 Marc VDS
20. Hector BARBERA, Reale Avintia Racing