Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden say the moisture issues that caused several accidents in the final test at Losail do not appear to be a problem for this weekend's race, and that there should not be any need to change the start time of Sunday's MotoGP season-opening Qatar Grand Prix.
Several riders had called for the race to be brought forward from its scheduled 11 p.m. local time start following a string of crashes at Turn 2 in testing, amid suspicions that moisture was forming on the track surface at that spot as temperatures dropped heading into the night. But after a trouble-free practice hour, Rossi expects the race to run to its planned timetable.
"Always Turn 2 is quite dangerous, but better than in the test - less humidity and better temperature," he said. "So I think it's possible to race at 11 p.m."
Hayden agreed that the weather seemed more favorable this weekend.
"It felt in some places grippier than in the test," he said. "But when we were here in the test, late at night we got the condensation. It seems a bit warmer.
"I'm just looking at the cars – at the test when we would leave and get to our cars at night, you'd have to turn your wipers on, and I don't see that tonight. So I think conditions are OK tonight."
But while being content to leave the race on its current schedule for this weekend, Rossi reiterated his belief that an 11 p.m. start is too late and that changes should be made for 2011.
"I remain of the same idea that 11 p.m. is too late to wait for Europe, so I hope next year it's 10 p.m. at the maximum," Rossi said. "But this time I think it will remain like this."