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Ezpeleta reflects on unique circumstances for Qatar opener

Ezpeleta reflects on unique circumstances for Qatar opener

Dorna CEO explains process involved in Monday MotoGP move

Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta was one of those present for discussions to move Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar MotoGP race to Monday night –an unprecedented move for the World Championship- and upon reflection this week the powerful MotoGP head reiterated that the right decision had been made.

“It can rain anywhere in the world, but it is very strange for it to do so in Qatar, above all in the way that it did last Sunday,” Mr. Ezpeleta told on Friday. “The kind of rain that we saw for the 125cc race was fairly normal, as that was a shower that stopped soon after, but what happened just before the MotoGP race was not. We already knew that a wet night race was not an option, and the proposal from the Qatari organization to postpone the race opened up possibilities that we will look at for races like Qatar, although it isn’t an option for other (daytime) Grands Prix.

“We were there to race, so in the end we were able to find a solution that best suited the majority of teams. It was a decision that was not against any regulation, but there was no precedent for it.”

Mr. Ezpeleta went on to explain that the options had been carefully analysed, saying that; “It was unviable to have a day race, as the tyres available were designed for night temperatures, and we had to have some kind of assurance that we would not experience the same conditions on Monday that we had on Sunday. There was also the need to see if the decision was convenient for the race to be shown on television.

“There had never been a night race until last year, and there has never been a wet night race. So we were applying extraordinary measures that will have to be legislated for the future.”

The problems posed by uncharacteristic rainfall will not lead to a kneejerk reaction affecting the only night race on the MotoGP calendar. The Dorna CEO did, however, refute the idea of another nocturnal event featuring in 2010.

“Qatar will definitely be the only night race. I don’t even think that we will plan other night events for the future, because I can’t see any circuit at which the conditions would be viable –even in Qatar we didn’t have that completely this past weekend.”

Besides the weather, another problem cited by the riders from the season-opener was the reduction of allotted practice time. Mr. Ezpeleta pronounced that he was receptive to their concerns, even saying that “I think that they are right. We wanted to use the engines less, and our first solution was to reduce practice sessions. We later realised that there are other ways of doing it, and the most recent suggestion that the MSMA have received for 2010 –or for this year if it is viable- is to keep one-hour sessions on Friday afternoon, Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon, but with a lap limit to keep engine use down.”

MotoGP, 2009

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