An unexpected and heavy downpour of rain has interrupted the opening evening of MotoGP testing at the Losail International Circuit.
Good riding conditions at the floodlight desert circuit of Losail on the outskirts of the Qatari capital of Doha were interrupted by a rare and rainstorm on Sunday at 7pm local time, putting a hold on proceedings during the first evening of practice at the MotoGP Official Night Test.
At 6pm there were ambient temperatures of 20ºC and track temperatures of 24ºC, as the second preseason test of 2009 commenced, but an hour later heavy rain drove the riders off track and back into the shelter of their pit-boxes.
Almost half the MotoGP field had not left their garages before the rain arrived, with the likes of World Champion Valentino Rossi, Australian former title holder Casey Stoner and Spanish star Dani Pedrosa not featuring in the early running.
The first rider out on track before the precipitation halted the test was Italian former 250cc World Champion Marco Melandri, finally making his first 2009 preseason appearance on the Kawasaki ZX-RR machine with the newly formed Hayate Racing Team.
By 8pm local time some riders were beginning to re-emerge on track following the rain interruption.
Best laps as of 7pm local time.
1. Chris Vermeulen, Suzuki MotoGP – 2’01.843 (5 laps)
2. Nicky Hayden, Ducati Marlboro Team – 2’02.509 (6)
3. Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Honda Gresini – 2’02.861 (4)
4. James Toseland, Tech3 Yamaha – 2’03.417 (6)
5. Colin Edwards, Tech3 Yamaha – 2’03.652 (5)
6. Marco Melandri, Hayate Racing Team – 2’04.045 (8)
7. Mika Kallio, Pramac Racing – 2’06.430 (3)
8. Toni Elias, San Carlo Honda Gresini – 2’08.637 (3)
9. Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda – 2’10.483 (2)
10. Jorge Lorenzo Fiat, Yamaha Team – 2’24.832 (1)