"Such a strong wind at Phillip Island? It never happened. I only remember once, many years ago, a test with the 250 where we stopped for this reason." Not even Valentino's memory comes to the rescue to find a precedent for what happened today in Australia.
The FP4s were interrupted by the red flag. The riders called for an extraordinary meeting in the Race Direction, and they decided to postpone the MotoGP qualifying session until tomorrow morning (1:30 am in Italy).
"The wind wasn't only strong but also unpredictable. It was too dangerous to continue on this track," was Rossi's opinion."We tried, but we then decided to stop."
The Doctor tries to explain what it means to ride a MotoGP in those conditions.
"The biggest problem is when you get on the main straight. It's like entering a tunnel," he said. "You really feel the wind at that point, then at the last and third corner. There were also very strong gusts, and you couldn't understand where they were coming from. They were harsh conditions to ride in, and most of the riders agreed to stop. It was the right decision. It would have been too dangerous, especially in qualifying when you're giving it your all."
Even the wings on the fairing affect the bike's behavior.
On one hand, it's worse because you feel the wind more. On the other, it's better because they guarantee for more contact of the front wheel with the ground ," explains Valentino. "But even without the wings, we couldn't have raced today."
They'll be recuperating qualifications tomorrow, and the Doctor has some doubts about this decision.
"It would have been better starting by taking the free practice times into consideration," he said.
Instead, Maverick Vinales, remained neutral on the decision, siding with the majority.
"I was ready to continue. There was a slight chance of doing so," he said. But safety is the priority, and stopping was the right decision to make.”
Vinales is confident for qualifying and the race.
"I managed to get answers regarding my ideas on the tires this morning," he continued. "I'm ready to give it my all in any condition."