MotoGP riders criticise safety at Red Bull Ring

Spielberg (Austria) (AFP) –


Riders on the MotoGP circuit, including world champion Joan Mir and seven-time champion Valentino Rossi have labelled the Red Bull Ring "dangerous" after another serious accident on the track during Sunday's Styrian GP.

Mir and Rossi both criticised Turn 3 in particular, site of Sunday's crash which saw a red flag coming out for the third successive race at the Red Bull Ring.

The track will also host next Sunday's Austrian GP.

"T3 is critical, really dangerous especially in the wet," said Mir, who finished second in Sunday's race.

"What is also very dangerous on this track is T1 and T3 because at the exit of these corners there is an uphill and then it drops down. And if something happens there, you don't see it."

On lap three, KTM rider Dani Pedrosa fell on Turn 3. Several riders narrowly missed him before Lorenzo Savadori of Aprilia hit his bike.

The bikes came to rest in the middle of the track and caught fire.

Pedrosa, returning to MotoGP after two years as a test rider, walked away but Savadori was removed on a stretcher and will have an operation on a broken right ankle on Monday.

Burning fuel spread across the track before marshalls put out the blaze. They then had to scrub away the debris and extinguisher fluid and blow-dry the track before the race restarted.

The crash was reminiscent of the accidents at last year's two races, which again saw the Styrian and Austrian GPs raced back-to-back.

During the first, Franco Morbidelli collided at high speed with Johann Zarco at Turn 2.

Their unmanned bikes spun across the course and almost collided with Rossi and Maverick Vinales at the following turn.

Then, a week later, Vinales' Yamaha crashed into the safety barriers after a brake problem.

"What happened today could have happened everywhere," said Rossi on Sunday.

"This track has three or four wild braking points. The most dangerous is Turn 3. It's dangerous also for the brakes.

"It explains what Maverick had last year. I don't know what we can do."

- 'Nothing is happening' -

While the riders, who will be back on the same track for Sunday's Austrian GP, can be grateful that no serious injuries have occurred, there is frustration that their complaints have thus far fallen on deaf ears.

"We are saying that we need to change a couple of things for the last three years, but nothing is happening," said Aleix Espargaro.

"It's disappointing to see that nothing has been done. You can’t imagine how much we've pushed.”

In Sunday's Moto2, there was another crash when the Italian Enea Bastianini lost control of his bike at the exit of the first corner and he collided with Hafizh Syahrin.

"There are some critical points but for sure Turn 3 is critical because normally it's there where we always have accidents or they have to stop," said Sunday's MotoGP winner Jorge Martin, who struck a slightly more optimistic note.

"It seems that in future the layout will be different so I think they will solve this problem because we arrive at a very high speed into that corner and also there is an uphill after, when you open the throttle.

"You can't see and that's why maybe Savadori crashed. So I think in the future it will be okay."

Faced with their protests this weekend, the Red Bull Ring again promised changes but the circuit did not respond to AFP's request for comment on Sunday evening.