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Rain postpones first Grand Prix of the season

Latest update : 2009-04-13

The first Grand Prix of the season in Qatar has been cancelled due to torrential rain. The race had to be stopped in the 125cc category after just four laps, while two Frenchmen climbed onto the podium in the 250cc event.

AFP - Torrential rain caused the season-opening Qatar MotoGP to be cancelled on Sunday, leaving officials and teams in a frenzy over whether to run the event on Monday instead at this floodlit desert venue.

Monsoon-like conditions, accompanied by swirling, high winds, arrived just moments before Australia's Casey Stoner, on pole position, was due to lead defending world champion Valentino Rossi and the other riders away on the warm-up lap.

"It's just unlucky with the weather," said Australian Ducati rider Stoner, the 2007 world champion, who was bidding for a third successive win here.

"It can be a good idea or it can be a bad idea to race on Monday. A lot of money has been spent on keeping people here at a time when we are trying to cut costs. It's disappointing it's happened like this."

Earlier, the 250cc race, which was won by Spain's Hector Barbera, on an Aprilia, had been cut from 20 to 13 laps and delayed by 40 minutes.

Italy's Andrea Iannone was declared the winner of the 125cc race which was halted after only four of the scheduled 18 laps as torrential rain flooded the desert circuit.

Ironically, it only rains on an average of eight days a year in Doha, but wet conditions also disrupted Friday's practice sessions.

Date created : 2009-04-12