Even Danilo Petrucci, one of the strongest riders last season in wet or mixed conditions, was surprised by the weather conditions that the MotoGP riders had to face today on the Phillip Island circuit during FP4. The decision, made by Dorna after hearing the riders’ opinions, was to cancel the FP4 session (which had started minutes earlier and where Miguel Oliveira had already had a bad crash) and to move the two qualifying sessions to tomorrow morning, in the hopes for better weather.
“This is the first time I’ve ever ridden in these conditions - Petrucci said - I struggled to keep the bike on the track at a few points. We could have continued, but it would not have been safe. I had some bad sensations on the bike.”
Before MotoGP, however, the Moto2 and Moto3 classes managed to complete their schedule.
“Yes, but the bikes in the lower classes go slower and have less aerodynamic resistance and less power. We were almost all in agreement to cancel the rest of the day and I think it was the right choice.”
You mentioned aerodynamic resistance: in these conditions, do the winglets help or hinder the situation?
“They certainly influence quite a bit - Petrucci said - In some sections they help keep the front end on the ground, but there are pros and cons and today there were more “cons” than pros.”
You said that you had never ridden in these conditions. What are the sensations you feel with this kind of wind?
“They are not good at all. The bike went crooked - the Italian continued - You had to turn the handlebars to go straight and to take the corners you had to go in and try to work out the situation. It was very dangerous and unpredictable because the wind kept changing direction.”
The qualifiers were postponed until tomorrow morning. Is that a fair decision?
“I don’t think that having the qualifiers and the race on the same day is right - Petrucci said - but it is a chance for those who didn’t make it into the top 10 to go through to Q2.”
Audio collected by Matteo Aglio