Giacomo Agostini suggests changes to MotoGP tyres after Marco Simoncelli's death

Motorcycle racing legend Giacomo Agostini believes changes to the behaviour of MotoGP tyres could help avoid crashes such as the one that took the life of Marco Simoncelli in yesterday's Malaysian Grand Prix

Giacomo Agostini suggests changes to MotoGP tyres after Marco Simoncelli's death

Simoncelli died after being struck by Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi when he lost control of his Gresini Honda on lap two at Sepang. The bike, with Simoncelli still attached, slid up the track on its side and into Edwards and Rossi's path.

Agostini, a 15-time world champion, said that the proliferation of electronic rider aids on modern MotoGP bikes was not a factor, but that there could be a need to look at the nature of MotoGP tyres.

"I think electronics had nothing to do with it yesterday," he told RAI Radio.

"Personally, like many other riders, I don't like electronics very much. I'd prefer the bike to be managed by the rider only and not electronics that drive your wrist.

"Tyres have been blamed too. Sure, tyres get some blame, in the sense that tyres are some of the most important things on a motorcycle. Nowadays, all riders demand the tyre to last from the first to the last lap, with no performance loss.

"The constructors build tyres to accommodate them: they are a bit harder and a bit more difficult to handle. Unfortunately that means that when grip lacks, the tyres just slide off and drop you with no warning.

"Perhaps it would make sense to have different tyres that, from mid-race onwards, they start to degrade. The rider would then have to ride more carefully. This would be a bit like in my times, when from mid-race onwards the tyre was worn so you'd need to ride by using more drifting and by being more careful."

But overall Agostini believes it would not be correct to try and apportion blame for the accident.

"Unfortunately, with yesterday's crash, we can't look for someone to pin the blame on," he said. "It was a crash like many that happen during races and sessions. Yesterday that crash was unfortunately fatal.

"It was fatal also because the bike didn't slide or fall: the rider fell. Together they went on a trajectory whereby, instead of going off the track, they went to the right, and unfortunately the others were coming and there was nothing they could do.

"It's useless to talk about safety and protection because I think in this case there was enough."

He believes current safety measures in MotoGP are more than adequate.

"Back in my times we'd race with a small helmet, with ultra-light overalls that would weigh less than two pounds; the circuits were enclosed by walls, trees and guard rails. Unfortunately that's how it was, it was hopeless, there were many crashes and many of my colleagues passed away.

"Nowadays I'd say big steps forward have been made: the circuits are very safe, they have run-offs, the overalls are safe and the helmets are full face. There's even a riders' air bag by Dainese that protects the back, the shoulder and the head.

"A lot of work is being done for safety, but when two 150-kilo bikes crash into you at 150km/h, unfortunately there's no protection for that."

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