Ahead of the inaugural MotoGP race in India, there were apprehensions among the riders regarding the track’s safety, with the main concern being the walls were a bit too close for comfort for the riders at some corners.
However, on Thursday, the riders who walked the track felt that they were probably too harsh and felt things were fine.
Spanish rider Pol Espargaró (GasGas Factory Racing Tech3) threw his full support behind the track, saying, “I walked two times yesterday, and I ran one time this morning. We were a bit too hard before coming here and seeing what it was. I think it is much better than we all expected.”
“About safety, there are some things that can be improved. But in most tracks in the world, there are places where we would like to improve. Here, for sure, we need to figure it out, especially racing and crashing, but there is nothing critical.
The Tech3 rider also praised the layout, saying, “It can be one of the most fun of the year. The corners are pretty different going up and down; there is a lot of banking in some corners. It’s something different from what we are used to racing.”
On the need to improve safety aspects, Pol added, “I believe that all the racetracks, they need to improve something because the motorbikes every year are a little bit faster and you reach a higher top speed, the corner speed is higher, so when you crash the speed is always higher and then you reach the walls much easier and faster. But that doesn’t mean the track is critical. For me, it’s good, it’s very good.”
Reigning champion Francesco Bagnaia, while being more guarded, said he was largely comfortable. “I had the chance to do two walking laps. I think the layout is interesting and different to other tracks. It could be great. It will be interesting to ride tomorrow, considering that in some parts of the track, the run-off areas look a bit short. But speaking with the Safety Commission, they tried to explain everything and have reasons to say it is okay. I think we should be okay.”
Miguel Oliveria (CryptoData RNF MotoGP Team) echoed similar views and said, “It is an interesting layout. It has a big straight, but the rest looks fun to do. It looks from the outside safe enough for us to ride, so it looks promising tomorrow.”
Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP) also felt that the track looks safe even if it is on the limit at some places.
“It is a very nice layout with more up and down than expected. Some walls are a bit close but better than what we expected. Turn 4 is a little bit critical. There is a 70 or 80-metre run-off after the straight, but the wall is going at an angle, and we never go wide in that direction. It might be tricky, but it is fine. It is on the limit, but with an air fence, it is fine,” said Alex.
Alex’s brother and six-time champion Marc Marquez added, “Yeah, the layout is nice. If the grip is good on the MotoGP bike, it will be even nicer. In dry conditions, (it’s) no problem to ride, but in the wet, we need to understand.”
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