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Australian GP open to Phillip Island resurfacing

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation will evaluate whether the Phillip Island circuit needs resurfacing based on feedback from MotoGP riders.

Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing crash

Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing crash

Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The Phillip Island track surface was brought up in last Friday's safety commission meeting with a number of riders concerned about the current state of the track.

That was despite lap record pace across the weekend, including in the premier class where Jorge Martin beat Jorge Lorenzo's qualifying record set back in 2013.

According to Ducati's Jack Miller, the issue with the current surface is bumps off the racing line.

"Surface-wise, she's been on there for about 10 years now and she's starting to get pretty loose," said Miller.

"Just bumps. Not so much on the racing line, but as soon as you go off...if you see anyone go wide at Turn 1 or Turn 8, they hit the deck.

"It's at that point that she's due for a freshen-up."

Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro said the current surface adds an unnecessary element of danger to what is already a high-speed, high-risk layout.

"We need to re-asphalt," he said. "All of the riders, we love this track, we love this place. It's very high adrenaline to ride here.

"But it is, without any doubt, the most dangerous circuit on the calendar, for many reasons.

"We need new asphalt. It's very bumpy, the grip is very low. The bikes are super fast, super good, a lot better than 10 years ago. But we only just dropped one tenth off the lap record from 10 years ago. I think that is a good example."

Jorge Martin kept his Ducati away from the slippery stuff to break the lap record in qualifying

Jorge Martin kept his Ducati away from the slippery stuff to break the lap record in qualifying

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The feedback has already been noted by AGPC CEO Andrew Westacott, who is open to discussing resurfacing with circuit owner Linfox.

"I haven't spoken to the circuit owners yet, but I heard the feedback coming out of the safety commission on Friday night," Westacott told Autosport.

"It's been three years since we raced here. I believe it was last resurfaced in 2012 and the normal life of a circuit is 10, 11, 12 years.

"If the guys are saying it's bumpy off the racing line, you've got to believe the best riders in the world.

"So we'll work and see what that means in terms of any homologation improvements. We don't get that formal feedback immediately, but we will get it and review it and there will be a process of prioritisation for various things.

"What we might have to look at is if there are smaller things that have a greater impact on safety. But everything ends up on a list and then everything gets worked through, directly with Dorna."

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Wildlife was another hot topic in the safety commission meeting last Friday following Espargaro's near-miss with a wallaby in Free Practice 1.

How to better protect riders from animals is another matter Westacott is open to investigating before MotoGP returns down under next year.

"There can be animals anywhere, but rider safety is paramount," he said.

"You can go to every step of [circuit] homologation, but when you then have the possibility of hitting wildlife at speed, that needs serious considerations. Therefore, that is a review that should happen.

"I don't know what the solution is, but it's certainly very, very important. Because whether you are doing two-wheeled or four-wheeled motorsport, you can't have wildlife jumping across your track.

"It's something that needs to be addressed - and addressed sensibly - by the circuit owners."

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