Round 12 British MotoGP- Silverstone
Well Silverstone certainly put on a rain show and ended in the race that never was. It was a weekend of mixed conditions causing delays along the way, rescheduling of race times and the eventual cancellation of the races for the Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP. The conditions were horrendous and have caused injury to many riders with Tito Rabat being particularly affected.
Rabat was involved in a major incident at turn 7 during the FP4 session where a series of riders including Alex Rins, Aleix Espargaro, Franco Morbidelli, and Jorge Lorenzo along with Rabat aquaplaned through the turn. After crashing, Rabat, as he walked away was struck by Morbidelli’s bike as it hammered in the gravel. Rabat was taken by helicopter to hospital with a fractured leg. Sadly he has fractured his femur and while the surgery has been a success he is in for some lengthy recovery time.
The decision to change the schedule for race day came as a result of the conditions during Saturday. The plan was to bring the MotoGP race forward to 11:30am, then follow it with the Moto3 race at 1pm and Moto2 at 2:30pm.
Jorge Lorenzo was set to start the race from first on the grid after taking pole ahead of his teammate Andrea Dovizioso making it a Ducati 1-2. Johann Zarco aboard his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine was to join them on the front row with the home town riders Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith in P4 and P8 respectively.
On race day the MotoGP riders headed out at 9am under the rain and as they morning went on the conditions worsened. The newly resurfaced track had bucket loads of standing water on it and the decision was made to delay the start. The safety car did countless trips around the circuit and it was obvious that the track was not safe and still the rain continued to fall. There was talk of holding the race the following day but this was not to be. Meetings were held and the tough but clearly right decision was made to cancel all races for the day.
Race Director Mike Webb had this to say “It was obvious the track conditions weren’t safe. After a consultation with the riders we delayed the start to see if conditions would improve. We have reached the point where even though the rain is getting less, the circuit is still not in a condition where we can safely run races. So, we’ve taken the very difficult and regrettable decision to cancel.
“We’ve had a number of years here in very wet conditions recently with the old surface and been able to run races. This year, with the new surface, it’s the first time we’ve encountered quite so much standing water in critical places on the track. Yes, it’s a direct result of the track surface; I must say from the circuit point of view, the staff have done an unbelievable effort over the whole weekend, not just today, but an enormous effort to make the track safe. Until the last minute that was still working but unfortunately, we couldn’t battle nature.
“The climate of the area means we’ve got to expect rain and the surface has to be able to handle it. They’ve done an enormous job over this weekend to try and improve things, which they have, but the nature of the surface means we’ve reached this point.”
From here we move on to the next race at Misano on September 9th and pray for safe racing conditions.