Silverstone apologises over British MotoGP cancellation

Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa in action during qualifying at the British MotoGP at the Silverstone Circuit in Silverstone, Britain August 25, 2018. — Reuters pic
Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa in action during qualifying at the British MotoGP at the Silverstone Circuit in Silverstone, Britain August 25, 2018. — Reuters pic

LONDON, Aug 27 — Silverstone circuit organisers apologised to MotoGP fans yesterday after the British round of the championship was cancelled due to heavy rain making it too dangerous to race.

“I am so sorry,” said managing director Stuart Pringle in a video statement, promising to contact all ticket holders during the week.

“In the end the riders felt that the conditions were not going to be right today to race at all and they made the decision not to race.”

Organisers had repeatedly postponed the start, having brought it forward to allow plenty of room for manoeuvre, before accepting there was no possibility of beating the bad weather.

They had ruled out already any option of holding the race today.

Honda referred to “drainage issues” in a statement and MotoGP race director Mike Webb said a recent resurfacing of the track had contributed to the problem.

“We’ve had a number of years here in very wet conditions recently with the old surface and been able to run races,” he said.

“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.”

Spanish rider Jorge Lorenzo, winner of the previous race in Austria two weeks ago, had been due to start on pole position on Sunday.

Honda’s reigning champion Marc Marquez has 201 points at the top of the standings, ahead of Yamaha’s Italian Valentino Rossi (142) and Lorenzo (130).

“It has been a long, unusual, tiring day that we hope won’t happen again,” said Marquez.

“The Safety Commission analysed the situation and I think the Race Direction has to be thanked; they listened, and in the end, safety was everybody’s main consideration — one of us riders is in hospital already.”

Avintia Ducati’s Spanish rider Tito Rabat broke his leg in three places and underwent emergency surgery after falling and being hit by Franco Morbidelli’s Marc VDS Honda in Saturday’s wet practice.

“Having a race cancelled is a worst-case scenario and a last resort. However, I think we can all agree that safety of the riders should always come first,” said Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli.

“It would have been irresponsible to send them out on track today, knowing their concerns regarding aquaplaning.” — Reuters