Lorenzo advocates moving Qatar race to twilight hours



Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo believes MotoGP organisers should switch the Qatar season opener from being a full night race to a twilight event in future.

The 2017 running of the Losail event has been dogged by the threat of bad weather, which finally materialised on Saturday and caused the entire day’s schedule – including qualifying – to be called off

Problems relating to poor drainage were to blame for the cancellation, which also prevented riders from getting their first experience of riding under the floodlights in wet conditions.

Ongoing concerns about the feasibility of running the Qatar race in the rain at night have led to calls to have the race returned to being a daytime event, as it was from its inception in 2004 until 2007.

However, Lorenzo feels that a twilight race – starting two hours before the current starting time of 9pm local time – would be a good compromise that would satisfy both the riders and the needs of the promoters.

“In that period of the year, it would be possible,” said Lorenzo when asked about the prospect of returning the Qatar race to daylight hours.

“But I think it’s a good idea in terms of TV, for the sport and for the show, to make one race in the night.

“Obviously one of the things we spoke about [on Friday, in the Safety Commission] was trying to put the race before, two hours before [the normal 9pm start]. I think 7pm is the right time.

“So it’s still night, but the temperature is much more hot, there’s less humidity and it’s best for the safety of the riders. It’s almost completely night and you finish in night time.”

Lorenzo will start his first race as a Ducati rider from 12th on the grid based on combined practice times, although he agreed with his rivals who backed the decision to call off qualifying.

“For sure it’s good to cancel the Saturday practice, because the track was not right,” said the Spaniard ahead of Sunday’s extended 30-minute warm-up.

“Apart from the rookies, I am one of the ones who needs the most time to get better. For sure it was not a lucky day for us.

“I don’t know in which conditions we will start the warm-up. It’s the same for everybody, we will have these 30 minutes to improve the feelings for me and the bike and choose the right tyre for the race.”

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont