British Moto GP cancelled due to 'unsafe' conditions

The rain-sodden Silverstone track was unable to host the British Grand Prix

The British Grand Prix was cancelled after torrential rain caused "unsafe" track conditions at Silverstone on Sunday.

With heavy rain lashing down throughout the weekend, the MotoGP race had been brought forward from its original 1200 GMT start time to 1030 GMT in a bid to beat the weather.

But the rain continued to pour on Sunday morning, forcing officials to delay the start and then cancel the event for safety reasons.

After several false starts in which a provisional start time for the race was set and then scrapped, a meeting between officials and the teams was convened.

It was quickly agreed that the track was not fit for competition given the high risk on the rain-sodden surface.

MotoGP said there was "no option" to re-arrange the race on Monday.

MotoGP race director Mike Webb admitted the new surface at Silverstone, which was laid in February, was to blame for making the track unsafe for racing.

"We've had a number of years' experience here in very wet conditions recently with the old surface and have been able to run races," Webb said.

"This year, with the new surface, is the first time we've encountered quite so much standing water in critical places on the track. So yes it's a direct result of the track surface.

"The staff have done an unbelievable effort over the whole weekend to try and make the track safe and until the last minute they were still working, but unfortunately we couldn't battle nature."

The cancellation of the race came after Tito Rabat suffered a broken leg during the fourth free practice session on Saturday.

Spain's Rabat, who had come off his Ducati in heavy rain, was walking away in the gravel at Stowe corner when he was hit by Italian Franco Morbidelli's bike.

The last time a premier class race had to be cancelled outright was the 1980 Austrian Grand Prix, which was called off due to snow, although the 2011 Malaysian GP, where Marco Simoncelli was killed in a crash, was also deemed not to have occurred in the official statistics.

Four-time Moto GP world champion Marc Marquez, who leads the standings, added: "We are very sorry for all the fans, we are the first ones that want to ride but safety is the priority."