MotoGP’s top riders have backed the decision to postpone today’s qualifying session until tomorrow as gusting, strong winds made conditions ‘dangerous’ to ride.
After Miguel Oliveira was blown off track at Doohan corner, a subsequent safety commission meeting saw qualifying delayed until the morning.
Nine-time champion Valentino Rossi said: “The problem was that today the wind was too strong and it was difficult to predict because it was inconsistent.
“The wind was aggressive and very nervous, and this made the conditions too dangerous at this track. Phillip Island is very fast, so that makes it difficult. We all spoke together and decided it was too dangerous. Everybody expected it to be windy today, we tried in FP4, but it was really dangerous.”
“In my opinion it was very dangerous, the wind was there and with the speed on this circuit, you feel it a lot. I was riding alone and you could feel the wind, but it looks like when you overtook another rider like with Zarco and Oliveira, you feel it a lot more,” said Marc Marquez.
For safety reasons we decided to cancel it. There was no need to risk that much in Qualifying, we were right on the limit of being able to ride and in the end we have another day to do it tomorrow.
“It was really dangerous conditions; I’ve never ridden in wind like we had today. Almost all the riders agreed that it was better to stop, and I think it was the right decision,” said Fabio Quartararo.
“I’m last on the grid if the grid is determined by combined practice times, so hopefully the conditions are safe enough to have qualifying in the morning.”
Britain’s Cal Crutchlow said: ““It was a disappointing day for the riders, the fans and the people watching at home, but these decisions don’t get taken lightly and I think we made the correct decision today not to ride.
“The Safety Commission made the correct decision because as you saw out there, the conditions with our bikes were horrendous. When we’re wheelieing in sixth gear, it’s not nice seeing someone like Miguel go into turn one like he did, do nothing wrong and get blown off the track.
He’s an experienced rider and he knows what he’s doing, it’s not like he made a mistake, it’s the wind. We don’t want to see people injured, we don’t want to see anyone hurt, I know all too well about going into turn one and having a crash like that.”
Aleix Espargaro added: “The situation in FP4 was really dangerous with too much wind and especially inconsistent gusts. Oliveira crashed in front of me on the first turn and you could clearly see how the wind pushed him off the track.
“The decision to cancel the sessions was right. One thing I love about this paddock is the respect they have for the riders’ opinions, especially when it comes to safety. Now let’s hope the situation improves for tomorrow and lets us race.”