Concerns Over Strong Winds - Will the Australian GP Be Cancelled?
Published: 19th October 2023
In addition to impressive images, the scenic location of the Phillip Island Circuit also makes for rare weather conditions that threaten the Grand Prix this year.
The Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit is renowned as one of the world’s most scenic and thrilling tracks, nestled close to the coast.
However, its proximity to the open sea exposes it to the whims of nature. MotoGP riders face the challenge of unpredictable winds and weather conditions during the Australian Grand Prix each year.
In 2023, a new episode of this challenge is anticipated. While Friday and Saturday are expected to be relatively calm, a dramatic shift is forecasted for Sunday.
Rain is expected from 10 a.m. onwards, with a 63 percent chance of rain at the start of the Australian Grand Prix MotoGP race at 2 p.m. local time. Temperatures could drop to an uncomfortable 12 to 14 degrees.
The riders are particularly concerned about the high wind speeds predicted. Sunday afternoon could see gusts ranging from 52 to 58 km/h, akin to stormy conditions on the Beaufort Wind Scale. Riding a motorcycle under such circumstances is undeniably perilous.
To provide context, in the previous year, riders in the premier class faced challenging winds during FP2, reaching speeds of up to 40 km/h.
Francesco Bagnaia, the current championship leader, voiced his worry, stating, “It will be even harder here than in Japan; the conditions can change from minute to minute. And in Japan, it was already difficult to adapt to the wet conditions.
Maverick Vinales, who secured the second position in Indonesia, echoed these concerns, emphasizing the risk of going off the track due to strong gusts.
Aleix Espargaro from Aprilia also considered the possibility of postponing the Australian Grand Prix, acknowledging the feasibility of such a decision.
This situation recalls a past incident in 2019 when Miguel Oliveira was blown off the track by a powerful gust of wind, leading to the cancellation of the qualifying session and its rescheduling to Sunday morning. The Portuguese later stated: “I couldn’t do anything; the wind just blew me off the track.”