After all the rain and the typhoon warning it was fairly obvious the the Japanese MotoGP race weekend at the Twin Ring circuit in Motegi was not going to go to plan. The weather, however, had yet another trick up it’s sleeve – FOG.
Low clouds, fog and generally poor vision meant that the safety/medical helicopter could not take off under Japanese law. No helicopter means no session (safety first!)
This however has had a massive impact on the weekends scheduling. No action on Friday coupled with the same conditions predicted for Saturday has left practice, qualifying and even the race up in the air, with several scenarios possible to assure a race actually takes place.
Race Direction have issued the following contingency plan:
The helicopter is currently based five minutes from the circuit. If the clouds do not dissipate there it will be DISASSEMBLED, transported to the track by road and reassembled so it can be used.
Several ideas are in the pipeline to get as much track action in as possible. weather dependent, naturally.
Race Director Mike Webb added:
“We also have a draft schedule for Sunday; we have prepared a possible plan, in case we don’t have any practice tomorrow, which would be 40 minutes for each qualifying session. Also, teams have proposed that perhaps they would like a single, longer practice session rather than two. We need to discuss this with the riders as well, to make sure they agree with these possibilities”.
Once the Saturday weather has been analysed, further plans will be revealed. These may include a longer or combined FP3/qualifying, qualifying moved to Sunday – meaning action would have to start at around 6am Japan time to fit everything in, with a small possibility remaining that the race could move to Monday.
This may end up being more complex than Phillip Island!