Severely Windy Conditions Halt Phillip Island Qualifying Day
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will leave the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit this Saturday without having been able to qualify. Weather conditions were too dangerous to complete FP4 and start the qualifying sessions today. The conditions will be assessed again tomorrow. Weather permitting, a new schedule will see Q1 and Q2 take place after the Warm Up.
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team was disappointed to be unable to qualify on the second day of the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix weekend. A heavy crash by Miguel Oliveira due to strong wind meant Race Direction decided to red flag the FP4 proceedings at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit with 13 minutes remaining, and it was ultimately ruled that no further track action would be taking place today out of safety concerns.
Riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi were looking forward to putting a final hand to their bikes' race settings in FP4 and entering the Q2. However, with the weather remaining uncertain, the teammates have no other option than to wait for the confirmation of Sunday's revised schedule. In the morning the weather will be assessed and accordingly it will be decided whether the MotoGP will be completing the Warm Up, Q1, Q2, and Race sessions all on the Sunday, or if it will just be the Warm Up and the Race, like usual. In the latter instance, the combined Free Practice results (FP1 + FP2 + FP3) will determine the starting grid. Should this be the case, Viñales and Rossi have secured first and seventh place respectively. They now look forward to return to the Phillip Island circuit tomorrow morning to await instructions for further Australian GP proceedings.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“I thought there would be a small possibility that we would be riding today, but I think we have to be clever and put safety first. In these conditions it was very easy to make a small mistake that would do a lot of damage. It‘s not that easy to go into Turn 1 with 340km with the wind, the problem was the wind. So, the majority‘s decision was to cancel the remaining sessions today. Tomorrow we‘ll see how the new schedule will work out. Anyway, I‘m quite happy, I‘m very confident in all situations. The programme is decided by other people, I will just try to concentrate and then tomorrow we will see what the plan is.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“The problem was that today the wind was too strong and it was difficult to predict because it was inconsistent. The wind was aggressive and very nervous, and this made the conditions too dangerous at this track. Phillip Island is very fast, so that makes it difficult. We all spoke together and decided it was too dangerous. Everybody expected it to be windy today, we tried in FP4, but it was really dangerous.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team - Team Director
“This is a very disappointing turn of events, especially for the fans. Naturally, we always want to put on a good show for them, but there was nothing to be done about today‘s situation. The Safety Commission and Race Direction assessed the weather conditions and decided rightfully that rider safety should come first. We have a new schedule to follow: Warm Up, Q2, and then the race, which is busier than our usual Sunday programme. We hope the weather conditions will improve for tomorrow, with a lot less wind, and also for it to be either all wet or all dry, so we can do well in qualifying. It will be extremely important to get good grid positions so we can make up for today's disappointment with some great racing tomorrow.”