Today’s British MotoGP round was cancelled at 4pm local time, due to poor track conditions. It is the first motorcycling World Championship event to be cancelled in its entirety during the race weekend since the Austrian Grand Prix of April 1980, which was called off due to heavy snowfall.
The event had been in jeopardy since yesterday’s FP4 practice session, when a heavy downpour caused three riders to crash at Stowe corner, after aquaplaning at around 290km/h (180mph) on Hangar Straight. Spanish rider Tito Rabat suffered worst in this melee, suffering a badly fractured right leg.
Yesterday evening Race Direction announced that today’s MotoGP race had been moved to an earlier 11.30am race slot, taking over from Moto3, in an effort to complete the 12th round of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship before heavier rain arrived at lunchtime. However, the downpour arrived earlier than expected, so the race couldn’t go ahead at the revised time.
Over the next few hours the race schedule was repeatedly delayed as incessant rainfall swept in from the west. Hopes to run shortened MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 races were finally ended at 4pm. The problem wasn’t so much the rainfall as the new asphalt, laid earlier this year. This new surface allowed large areas of standing water to form at various parts of the track, which causes aquaplaning, which can cause even the most talented riders to lose control and crash.
Race Direction, advised by the riders and MotoGP safety officers Loris Capirossi and Franco Uncini (both former World Champions), finally announced that conditions were simply too dangerous for racing, so all three races – MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 – were cancelled. Safety is always the first priority in the motorcycling World Championships
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) and other Honda riders would have liked to have raced and entertain the fans, but finally they understood that track conditions were not good enough. Reigning World Champion Marquez arrived here leading the championship by 59 points and will therefore go to the next race in San Marino on September 9 leading by the same margin.