Espargaro: Portimao "borderline" on MotoGP safety

Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro says the Algarve circuit is "safe enough" for MotoGP to race there, but admits it's "borderline" and highlights the last corner as the main area of concern

Espargaro: Portimao "borderline" on MotoGP safety

MotoGP will return to Portugal for the first time since 2012 in November for the season finale, which will mark the series' first official visit to the Algarve track near Portimao.

On Wednesday, test riders from all six manufacturers - as well as Espargaro - completed a track familiarisation session on MotoGP machinery, while 13 others from the current crop tried the venue on street bikes.

Espargaro, who was fastest of the MotoGP runners on his RS-GP, says the circuit is just about acceptable for MotoGP safety standards - and notes the series visits more dangerous venues.

"The track is borderline for MotoGP, it's on the limit," he said.

"On the pictures and on the TV, everybody is just commenting on the up and downs, but the rest of the track is ok.

"We have enough room in case of a crash. I think everything is on the limit, but the last corner for me is dangerous.

"The last corner is the one most unsafe.

"The rest of the track, the ups and downs are a bit in the limit, but we race in circuits more dangerous.

"For example, Motegi, the walls are closer in many [more] places than Portimao. But apart from the last corner, I think it's safe enough."

Espargaro was also unhappy with the bumpiness of the new asphalt at the Algarve circuit, adding he is worried about racing there after Formula 1 because the cars tend to "destroy" track surfaces due to the amount of downforce they generate.

KTM's Brad Binder echoed Espargaro's thoughts on the final turn, saying: "The only place I thought was maybe a little bit on the limit was the last corner.

"When you come out of it, there's a wall at either side.

"It wasn't too hectic on what we were there on, but on a GP bike when you have a lot of power will be maybe a bit of a different story."

Pramac's Jack Miller also highlighted the last corner as a potential problem area, but has "seen worse".

"Yeah, it's a little bit [on the limit]," Miller said of Algarve's last corner.

"But I've seen worse. Barcelona for example is worse, but for sure if we can try and bring the level up everywhere it's better.

"But I think we'll be discussing that on Friday in the Safety Commission."

A notable absentee from the test was championship leader Fabio Quartararo, who says he avoided it to negate the risk of injury ahead of the coming Le Mans/Aragon triple-header, but also because he feels Friday practice will be enough of an opportunity to learn the track.

However, KTM rider Pol Espargaro felt he would have spent the entire Friday of the Portuguese GP learning the circuit had he not attended the familiarisation session.

"It was good to do laps at Portimao," he said.

"It's a very tricky place where you need to ride before arriving there on a MotoGP bike at the end of the straight going up and down.

"It was important for me because for sure if I was not in this test I would arrive at Friday and I would lose the full Friday to learning the track, and this is painful in a category where everybody and all the bikes are strong."

shares
comments
2020 MotoGP French Grand Prix session timings and preview
Previous article

2020 MotoGP French Grand Prix session timings and preview

Next article

Why revised Le Mans MotoGP schedule is important for Vinales

Why revised Le Mans MotoGP schedule is important for Vinales
Load comments
How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race Plus

How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race

The 2021 MotoGP season may have only just ended but preparations for 2022 are well underway following a two-day test at Jerez this week. Ducati has hit the ground running while a lack of progress dominated Yamaha’s and world champion Fabio Quartararo’s test. While no battle lines have been drawn yet for 2022, it appears Ducati has already drawn first blood...

MotoGP
Nov 20, 2021
Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late Plus

Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late

Suzuki is on the search for a new team manager after its decision not to replace Davide Brivio at the start of 2021 was backed up by its unsuccessful bid to help Joan Mir defend his 2020 MotoGP world title. But whoever Shinichi Sahara appoints next, it may have already come too late to convince Mir to stick with the project

MotoGP
Nov 19, 2021
How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career Plus

How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career

The greatest chapter in MotoGP history came to a close at the Valencia Grand Prix as Valentino Rossi bid farewell after 26 seasons of grand prix racing. While his run to a strong 10th was a pleasing end to his time in MotoGP, it was what happened at the front of the grid that capped the Italian's ideal send-off

MotoGP
Nov 15, 2021
Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove Plus

Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove

OPINION: MotoGP-bound Darryn Binder was already under the microscope as his jump from Moto3 to join RNF's new top-class team was announced. But his crash with title hopeful Dennis Foggia caused significant consternation among the ranks - with many current riders suggesting the top level should be harder to break into as a result

MotoGP
Nov 9, 2021
How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo’s MotoGP title defence Plus

How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo’s MotoGP title defence

Fabio Quartararo’s first DNF of his title-winning 2021 MotoGP season couldn’t have come at a better time. But the events of the Yamaha rider’s Algarve Grand Prix exposed the M1’s well-known major weakness, which could threaten his championship defence given the increasingly Ducati-heavy makeup of the grid heading into 2022

MotoGP
Nov 8, 2021
The financial implications fuelling junior bike racing's dangerous aggression Plus

The financial implications fuelling junior bike racing's dangerous aggression

The pressure shouldered by young riders is at the root of the increased on-track aggression seen in lower categories of late, which motorcycling's governing bodies want to curb with new rules. But will stopping under-18s from racing in the world championship and capping grid sizes prevent the often desperate acts of youths pursuing their MotoGP dreams?

MotoGP
Nov 2, 2021
The three factors that crowned MotoGP’s newest champion at Misano Plus

The three factors that crowned MotoGP’s newest champion at Misano

The prospect of Fabio Quartararo clinching the 2021 MotoGP world championship title at Misano appeared small after struggling to 15th in qualifying, while main rival Francesco Bagnaia took pole. Here's how the Yamaha rider turned it around, with help from an ill-fated Bagnaia tyre choice, to secure the crown with two races to spare

MotoGP
Oct 25, 2021
Marco Simoncelli: Remembering MotoGP's ultimate maverick 10 years on Plus

Marco Simoncelli: Remembering MotoGP's ultimate maverick 10 years on

Saturday 23 October marks the 10th anniversary of Marco Simoncelli's death. The one-time 250cc world champion and double MotoGP podium finisher was the ultimate maverick character with big hair, a big personality and an even bigger talent. Autosport pays tribute to a much-missed figure, a decade on

MotoGP
Oct 23, 2021