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MotoGP Indian GP

Riders have been “too hard” on India MotoGP track over safety concerns

Pol Espargaro believes MotoGP riders were “a bit too hard” when it came to their concerns over the safety of the Indian Grand Prix circuit.

General view of the circuit

This weekend marks the first ever Indian GP for MotoGP, which will be staged at the same Buddh International Circuit which hosted Formula 1 from 2011 to 2013.

The track required upgrade works to improve safety, though these were only completed recently and several riders felt unease about the proximity of barriers to the circuit at some corners.

This led to the riders uniting over the matter, with a vote set to take place after all of them had walked the circuit on whether it is safe enough to race on. That has now happened, with all the riders giving the track the green light.

Tech3’s Espargaro had already explored the circuit prior to this and feels the work done to it is satisfactory.

“I walked it two times yesterday and ran it one time this morning,” he said on Thursday.

“Honestly, I think we were a little bit too hard before coming here to see what really was. I think it is much better than what we all expected.

“About the safety, for sure there are some things that can be improved. But I believe in all the race tracks in the world there are places we would like to improve.

“And here for sure, we need to figure it out, especially racing and crashing. There is nothing critical, I would say, but for sure in some places it can be improved.

Pol Espargaro, Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing

Pol Espargaro, Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“But I believe, as I said, that we’ve been too hard before coming here and for me, looking at the layout, it could be one of the most fun of the year.

“There is up and down, the corners are different, there is banking in some areas. It’s something different than what we are used to racing on and it looks very fun.”

RNF Aprilia’s Raul Fernandez echoed these thoughts, though highlighted that some kerbs has caused him concern.

“Honestly, I like it. I think the track is super nice,” he added.

“We have to see well some of the kerbs, because I think in some places it looks not too safe. It could be safe, but maybe they don’t think that in the end we are on a MotoGP bike.

“We need to be careful with kerbs and try to see what the best solution is, to work with the air fence.

“Honestly, I think the track is safe, but in some points you need to see better. But anyway, I like the track, I like the paddock. It was a good surprise, honestly.”

Fernandez also noted that riders “need to be calm” through the banked Turn 8 right-hander as “the wall is too close there”, but that “more or less, it looks you have good margin if you crash”.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Srinivasa Krishnan

Gresini’s Alex Marquez feels the wall at Turn 4 is “critical” and that the rest of the track is “on the limit, but not bad”.

“This is a really nice layout, I will say,” Marquez added.

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“More up and down than what we expected. It’s really nice. Some walls are really close, but better than what we expected – just Turn 4 is a little bit critical, but for the rest it’s not bad.

“So, I think we need to speak [about this] but it should be a good weekend for everybody. The run-off area [at Turn 4] is not bad, it’s like 70m or 90m more less.

“But later the wall is going like this [comes closer]. For the rest it’s fine, on the limit, but not bad – with air fence, it’s not bad.”

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