Motorcycling: Rain, wind threatens to blow Qatar MotoGP off course

Torrential rain and high winds threatened to push the season-opening Qatar MotoGP back 24 hours as the weather caused havoc with Saturday's qualifying plans under the Losail floodlights.

The scheduled final practice for the elite-class MotoGP was cancelled as pools of standing water stubbornly refused to dry out, adding to riders' fears that racing on a wet track under lights would be too dangerous.

Such conditions, they argue, would compromise visibility.

"When it rains here, there is also a strong wind and a lot of sand on the track," said nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi, a four-time winner at the desert track.

Storms are forecast for Saturday night, leading to the prospect that the race could be pushed back to Sunday or even take place on Monday as was the case in 2009.