Saturday was the kind of day that makes you question the wisdom of allowing Qatar to be the first race of the MotoGP season, and to hold the race at night.
Doing one or the other – either being the first race of the season but holding it during the day, or taking place later in the year and racing at night – is feasible, but doing both is a risk.
If it wasn’t for the fact that the sanctioning fee the Losail International Circuit at Qatar pays to Dorna for the privilege basically covering the overseas travel budget for the teams for the entire season, the MotoGP season opener would be very different.
It was an entirely wasted day. Or perhaps not entirely wasted: we learned that the Qatar circuit badly needs the drainage fixed. Whatever the decision on racing in the rain, when it does rain, the track and the run off areas just don’t drain fast enough.
That led to Loris Capirossi, Dorna’s representative in Race Direction, trying to explain in increasingly exasperated tones that there was no point trying to test during the day or at night, because there was simply too much standing water in the gravel traps and in certain sections of the track to allow it to be used safely.
Capirossi was speaking at an impromptu press conference organized directly after the qualifying press conference, to explain why all on-track action had been cancelled on Saturday.
It had started with the cancellation of the Asia Talent Cup, and a revised schedule was issued containing a track inspection, then a twenty-minute session for the riders to go out and see whether it would be possible to ridein the wet under the floodlights.
But as each schedule approached, events were delayed. In the end, the entire day was cancelled. The track was unusable after such intense rainfall.