Final Update: Ohhh yeah…. Vinales finishes off first after a strong fight from the Ducati. My favorite moments of the race though would be Zarco flying past everyone in the stating laps, the battle between Yamaha and Ducati with the later showing the clear difference in straights, and Rossi overtaking Marquez!
Update5: Ohhhh Zarco!! facepalm… you were beautiful until the crash.
Update4: Zarco! a rookie giving a run for the money… independent Yamaha is getting results in the first race!! way to go Zarco.. you are my rookie favorite of the year. Shaky start for Rossi though.
Update3: Yaay.. good news.. the race is going to happen. And guess what, the track is dry and the riders are shifting to rear soft compounds and medium front! It’s only 20 laps now.
Update2: Well, the riders seem not happy with the track. At least Rossi and Vinales don’t seem so. Guess, the race won’t be happening today after all! such a shame 😦 for a season opener. The last section of the track is wet, not soaked up wet, but wet and unable to identify the wet patches. Well, we have a reserve day for the race.
Update1: The race is delayed.. it seems to be raining again!! and there is no word if there is any glare on the tarmac because of the wet conditions.
Sitting quietly, seemingly relaxing to the breeze of the Persian Gulf, is the engineering marvel, THE Losail circuit. It is the only circuit to host a night Grand Prix. The track was constructed within a year and was open to racing in 2004. A permanent state of the art lightening is in place from 2007. There is artificial grass all around the circuit, which prevents the desert sand from depositing on to the track, even then, it is a very abrasive track of all.
There has never been a wet race in Losail until ’17. This Saturday session was completely washed out due to the heavy rain and so, away from the conventional way of Qualifiers, this years season opener is going to take the free practice sessions average held up until Friday into account to allocate the grid positions. This pushes the already struggling Valentino into 10th spot and the self-declared out of competition for championship Lorenzo in 12th spot. Maverick Vinales, being the fastest with Monster Yamaha YZR-M1, is going to start off the race from grid position #1.
The Losail circuit is 5.380 Km’s with the longest straight being 1.068 Km’s. 10:6 curves with most corners to the right. We have witnessed some of the classic overtaking on curve 2,5,10,13& 16 over the years. Lorenzo has a very good record up here with the Yamaha. now that he has moved to team Ducati, and Ducati’s who are notoriously popular for their speeds on straights, one would expect Lorenzo to ace this track, but that has not been the case with him thus far. Vinales after moving away from Suzuki and joining Yamaha taking over Lorenzo’s bike, has surprisingly coped up well with the M1 with out even a single crash! and Marques has found his rhythm with the Honda RC213V. Compared to how he started off last year with his machine and winning the championship, this is a very good start of a new season for him.
Just some minutes away from the season opener. With the heavy downpour, there seems to be a bit of puddles in between the track in spite of all the great effort from the boys to put the water away. With the puddles, the tyre choice should be hard, but then the dry abrasive track of Losail will take a toll on them. So, I guess, except for Lorenzo out of some desperation, we’ll see medium rear and hard front mostly. Wish KTM finds out a bit more about their machine in this race with Bradly Smith joining them moving away from Yamaha, and my personal favorite for today’s race is Maverick Vinales but since he has no experience on the M1 in these conditions, I’ll vouch a bit for Marques even after his crash during the warm-up race. And Rossi the doctor might as well sneak a last lap podium finish.