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Top riders call for earlier Australian start

Top riders call for earlier Australian start
By AutoSport

21/10/2017 at 17:24Updated 21/10/2017 at 17:28

MotoGP's top riders have called for the start time of the Australian Grand Prix to be moved an hour earlier from next year onwards.

Riders are campaigning for the race start to be pushed forward from its traditional 4pm local time slot, with calls for it to start no later than 3pm in the future.

The concern is plummeting track temperatures, with the fickle Phillip Island weather often resulting in a drop in ambient and track temperature not long after a 4pm start.

According to Marc Marquez, work is underway to start the race an hour earlier.

"It's something that already we discussed last year," said Marquez.

"For us, for all the riders, it's better to start minimum at 3pm. Every year from 4pm to 5pm we have the same problem - it's dropping a lot, the temperature.

"Three is different. We hope for the future to change to three, a little bit earlier."

Marc Marquez of Spain rides the #93 REPSOL HONDA TEAM Honda during qualifying for the 2017 MotoGP of Australia at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on October 21, 2017 in Phillip Island, Australia

Marc Marquez of Spain rides the #93 REPSOL HONDA TEAM Honda during qualifying for the 2017 MotoGP of Australia at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on October 21, 2017 in Phillip Island, AustraliaGetty Images

Maverick Vinales echoed Marquez's thought: "We discussed it yesterday, finally all the riders agree.

"Especially for the last laps of the race when the temperature goes down, for the safety it's better to do the race at three for sure."

Rossi confirmed that the idea of shifting the start time for 2018 onwards had been formally discussed at the rider's safety commission on Friday.

Marc Marquez of Spain rides the #93 REPSOL HONDA TEAM Honda during free practice for the 2017 MotoGP of Australia at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on October 20, 2017 in Phillip Island, Australia

Marc Marquez of Spain rides the #93 REPSOL HONDA TEAM Honda during free practice for the 2017 MotoGP of Australia at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on October 20, 2017 in Phillip Island, AustraliaGetty Images

"It's a common topic here," he said. "We spoke about it yesterday in the safety commission. The problem with racing so late, is that the risks increase - especially if it rains, because the track temperature goes down so much.

"For this year it's impossible to move, but we're going to try and move it one hour earlier for next year and for the future. One hour can make a big difference."

The 4pm start time has been used by Australian Grand Prix organisers since 2008, when the start time was moved back an hour.

Shifting it back to the pre-2008 time will make the race start slightly less comfortable for the core European audience, with 3pm equating to 5am in the UK and 6am in Central Europe.

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