Styria MotoGP Thursday Round Up: Back To A Dangerous Track, Where Bad Blood Remains

A week later, and back in the same place. Plus ça change pas... The same riders are back at the same track, in the same situation. So we should have the same result, right?

That's not quite what the data from Jerez says. Sure, the first two places were the same in both races. But behind that, the results were completely different between the two races, a week apart on the same circuit. Only 9 of the 22 riders on the entry list of the first race finished both races, three of them ending up injured in the carnage of the two opening rounds.

Only Pol Espargaro crossed the line within one place of his finishing position in the second race, ending sixth in the first race, seventh in the second. Only Johann Zarco's finishing position varied by two places, crossing the line eleventh in the first race, ninth in the second. The rest of the field either finished three or more places out of position, or crashed out – and there were a lot of riders who didn't cross the line one way or another.

The biggest name not to finish in either of the MotoGP races at Jerez was, of course Marc Márquez. The reigning world champion won't be at the second race at the Red Bull Ring, Repsol Honda announced earlier this week, and an eerie silence surrounds when he will be back. And so Honda languish in fifth in the manufacturer standings, and the factory Repsol Honda team is dead last in the team standings. Only Takaaki Nakagami is sparing Honda's blushes, and he is riding a 2019 bike.

Same track, same dangers

Much may change at the Red Bull Ring, but unfortunately for the riders, the one thing that won't is the Red Bull Ring itself. The incident between Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli, in which the two riders collided on the approach to Turn 2, were separated from their bikes at 300 km/h, which kept on going and flew across the track at enormous speed, nearly decapitating Maverick Viñales and passing within a meter or so of both Viñales and his Monster Energy Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi.

For this race, a minor adjustment is being made. The wall on the inside of Turn 3 is being extended, with a tire wall and air fence in front, while a catch fence has been put above the the air fence to catch any flying debris. It is an improvement but not much of one, like seeing a gas station catch fire, and deciding to put a couple of extra fire extinguishers near the pumps to stop it happening again.

What would have happened if the new barrier had been in place last Sunday? The catch fence might have stopped Johann Zarco's bike from crossing the track, but Franco Morbidelli's M1 slid right along the edge of the track over the kerb, and ended up firing right between the bikes of Viñales and Rossi. Zarco's bike most probably would have hit the air fence, judging by the footage, and probably would have deflated it, just before Franco Morbidelli arrived there. The result might have been a little bit better, but not much. Viñales and Rossi would have dodged one bullet rather than two, and Morbidelli could have ended up hitting a deflating piece of air fence quite hard.


The underlying causes of the crash were not addressed: the fact that riders are leaned over hard for the left of Turn 2, while starting to brake hard for the right hander of Turn 3. The speeds are high, as are the braking forces, and riders are taking multiple lines on the approach to the tight right hander, to line themselves up as well as possible to get drive on the exit. Different bikes take different lines to find the drive that they need.

The corner itself needs fixing, that much we have known for some time: a similar crash happened at Spielberg – or Zeltweg, as the track was then known – back in 2002. Only this time, one racer lost control, and their car reentered the circuit and hit another driver full amidships. The saving grace for the factory Yamahas is that motorcycles present a much smaller target area than cars.

How to fix Turn 3? It starts with sorting out Turn 2. Straightening the kink might make a difference, but what you really want is for the bikes to be forced to brake hard enough for Turn 2 that a lot of speed has already been scrubbed off before they get anywhere near Turn 3.

Moving the problem elsewhere

But there is an additional risk here, as Cal Crutchlow explained to us. "One of the key things here is we cannot make the exit any faster," the LCR Honda rider told us. "Because Turn 4 is where we all have braking problems, where the heat of the brakes is a problem. So going down that hill, it's quite a steep downhill, we do not want to be going any faster than we are going now anyway. We're absolutely on the limit of stopping, with brake temperatures, with the tires, the bikes, and the riders, we're on the limit. So we don't want to push the limit any more just because they've altered Turn 3."

The condemnation for Turn 3 was universal, only the tone differing between riders. "I still don't think the corner's safe," Crutchlow added. Danilo Petrucci explained that the combination of speed, braking, and lean angle was the issue. "The fact is that in that part the only category, both cars and bikes, the only category that brakes in the middle of Turn 2 is MotoGP, because we arrive really, really fast. Faster than any other vehicle in the world at that part and we have to brake a lot of meters before when we are still turning."

The speed, lean angle, and braking also made it hugely challenging for the riders, Valentino Rossi said. "The worst point is Turn 2 and 3, which is a shame because it is a great point, I like it a lot and it is technical braking from one side to the other, but can be very dangerous."

"I saw the F1 crash before our incident and it’s the same," Rossi went on to explain. "When you have a small hairpin then you exit the opposite way and you arrive very fast, so this is very dangerous. The problem is modifying the track is never easy, you need to make a big job to modify Turn 2 and 3 in another way. It’s not impossible but we need to push a lot because it’d cost a lot of money for the organizer."

Money fixes everything

The organizer, in this instance, is the Red Bull Ring. The Red Bull Ring is owned by Red Bull. Red Bull is owned Dieter Mateschitz, Austria's richest man. Red Bull is a hugely profitable enterprise: in 2018, the company's net income was reported to be €741 million, on turnover of around €5.5 billion. If Red Bull wanted to make the Red Bull Ring safe, Red Bull would appear to have the money to spare. The question is, does Red Bull want to spend the money to make the Red Bull Ring safe?

Safe or not, it won't stop the riders from racing there on Sunday. Asked if the near miss on Sunday had made him rethink his future, and stop racing in 2021, Valentino Rossi gave an answer that is most easily summarized as 'lol no'. "I think that if I stop with MotoGP, anyway I will do something else that is dangerous," he said. "I want to race with cars, and make the 24 Hours. If you are a rider or a driver, it's a risk. So I didn't change my mind and I want to continue next year."

That racing isn't the only danger in life was evident during Bradley Smith's zoom debrief. The factory Aprilia rider appeared with a face looking as swollen and discolored as if he was giving a press conference after losing a middleweight boxing bout on points over ten rounds, in a fight that should have been stopped after three. Smith had been stung by a bee, and the allergic reaction had caused his face to swell up.

"I got stung by a bee on Tuesday. That’s why my face looks like it does," Smith said. "This is 48 hours later. You can imagine what it looked like when it happened." He hoped the swelling would be reduced enough on Friday morning to be able to put a helmet on. "We’ve already done all the checks with Shoei and if you had seen the pictures yesterday compared to today, I already expect tomorrow is going to be better."

Thumb twiddling

The forced extended stay in the paddock was starting to take its toll on those inside the MotoGP bubble. Boredom was the biggest issue facing the riders, whose temperament tends toward the hyperactive at the best of times. "From a perspective of the paddock, it's boring," Cal Crutchlow said. "There is nothing to do. As in, we have stayed here all week, and we all mentioned here the other day, can you imagine the screen times on our phone?"

The rhythm of a race weekend was radically different, Crutchlow explained. "Normally we arrive at the circuit on a Wednesday or even a Thursday, you have your meetings, you have your press, then you have your massage, and you go for a cycle, and your day is done and you're ready to ride. Now we're here on Monday... I woke up a couple of days at 11:30, to try to drag the day out a little bit."

For more on the weird and bizarre atmosphere in the paddock, read Mat Oxley's excellent interview with Dorna TV commentators Matt Birt and Steve Day. It is a strange, lonely affair, with no fans, and little contact with anyone outside your own bubble. The MotoGP paddock is normally heaving with life, especially at the end of the day. Now, photographers send pictures of the paddock, deserted except for the rows of trucks. But at least there is racing.

Crash fallout

The aftermath of various crashes were at the forefront of many people's minds, both riders and journalists. The war of words which started after Pol Espargaro and Miguel Oliveira came together on Sunday and ended up both crashing. Oliveira cast eloquent aspersions on Espargaro's ability to see inside the corner when he ran wide, while Espargaro kept mostly quiet after expressing his perspective, that Oliveira had crashed and taken him down.

The whole affair seemed to have settled down, until the riders spoke to the media again, and the whole cycle started again. Espargaro had been irritated by the way the incident had been viewed on Social Media. "Obviously I was a little surprised about how much people know about motorbikes and how easy the people talk about something they don’t know exactly," the factory KTM rider said with a hefty dose of sarcasm. "This is something I am really surprised about because when I want to talk about something at least I try to be informed about what was going on."

Espargaro felt people were taking Oliveira's side because Oliveira had spoken out, while he had tried not to say anything for the sake of harmony inside KTM. "For example in Miguel’s side he was complaining and when one rider is complaining the other rider has the fault," Espargaro said. "Instead of thinking ‘maybe the other one doesn’t want to fight with a teammate inside KTM factory racing…’ which is the most intelligent thing."

Cain and Abel

He hadn't wanted the public spat, Espargaro said. "We are teammates! And in the end the first thing you learn in this MotoGP world is that you cannot fight against your teammate because the factory [that] is paying you doesn’t want it. It is a very bad image." He had done his best to calm down immediately after the crash, he explained. "Instead of going into the pitbox when I crashed I went into my motorhome straight away and I took a cool bath and then afterwards I went into the pitbox, saw the guys and we were talking about it. I think this is what we all need to do: cool down, especially when it is a matter of teammates."

Oliveira, on the other hand, was sticking to his guns. Espargaro had run wide and opened the door, and Oliveira had seized the opportunity offered. "The line Pol did was not his normal line. He for sure did the same the lap before. He went wide. The same story. Mir overtook him on inside. And my opinion is if you are racing and you go wide you need to expect someone is going to take advantage of your mistake," the Tech3 KTM rider explained. "I don’t need to really wait… my point of view is that I don’t need to cross my fingers. If I am in the inside of the corner I will try to look on the other side of the bike to see if someone is there. I know he is there. When the rider goes wide usually there is someone there to take your place."

Oliveira and Espargaro were both called to the FIM Stewards, who declared the issue to be a race incident, with no further action taken. Both Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli were also called up before the Stewards, appearing separately, but with Ruben Xaus accompanying Zarco, and Wilco Zeelenberg attending with Morbidelli. The Stewards issued a press release on Thursday saying that they would be issuing a statement on Friday, in an odd piece of meta communication.

Zarco vs Morbidelli

Johann Zarco proclaimed his innocence, saying he did not believe he deserved any kind of penalty. "From my opinion there should not be any penalties because I didn't do anything crazy and I explained everything correctly – that nothing was crazy," he said. "I explained everything well, even we had good proof with the data. I hope they understood it, because they were not really answering, but let's see what the decision is."

Franco Morbidelli first took back some of the strongest words he had said in the aftermath of the crash on Sunday evening. "Before you ask me I will tell you that I am sorry about what I called Johann after the race. It was a too strong statement," he said.

But that didn't mean he was backing down. "It remains the fact that Johann made a mistake. It remains the fact that Johann’s mistake or Johann’s action could have ended way worse than how it ended. It is still a mistake. I don’t know his feelings. I’m not in his head. I can’t judge what’s going through his mind. I can just judge his actions."

Bad lines

Morbidelli explained what he felt Zarco had done wrong. "Clearly Johann took a funny line, a line that nobody has been going – never, not even once in the weekend – a super tight light into T3 just to cut ground to overtake me. So it was the aim was to cut ground to overtake and then the braking we think about it later. The problem is that when he cut the ground he didn’t overtake me completely and he still went wide after the corner. We couldn’t avoid the collision. I couldn’t avoid because I couldn’t go any further on the right, I couldn’t go anywhere else, I couldn’t go on the inside, because there was no space to go inside and I couldn’t go outside because I would’ve ended up on the grass. So I think the accident is pretty much this."

Most of the riders saw it the same way as Morbidelli. "On the Zarco incident, I believe that last week, maybe I was a little wrong, because I did say it was a racing incident," Crutchlow told us. "But if you actually look, he was never stopping for that corner anyway. There's no way. Because if you look at the trajectory of that bike, he was already going towards the grass. So he was either going to go on the grass on his own, or he was going to go so tight into the right hander, he wouldn't have made the corner. He would have just gone straight off the end of the track."

Justice for all

The real ire of the riders was aimed at the panel of FIM Stewards, consisting of Freddie Spencer, American FIM official Bill Cumbow, and a rotating third member drawn from a pool of other FIM officials. "I have many doubts about the panel of Stewards," Aleix Espargaro said. "I don’t agree with many things. We can improve on many things. But it doesn’t depend on me. For sure I can understand it’s easy for them. But it’s also not easy for me to put the Aprilia in the top ten. It’s not for easy for my engineers, it’s not easy for my wife to be a mum. For everybody it’s difficult. We have room to improve."

The real issue was a lack of consistency, Espargaro said. "It’s not just me. Every rider in Safety Commission isn’t super happy. I know it’s not easy but for the riders and what we are asking, and what makes us feel uncomfortable, we think it’s always different, not always equal with the same actions. It depends if the rider crashes or not. It depends if the rider is leading or not. It depends if the rider is in Moto3 or MotoGP. The rule is the rule. It doesn’t matter if it’s two guys fighting for 20th place in Moto3 or whether it’s Marc Márquez and Valentino Rossi in MotoGP. The rule is the rule. It has to be more equal."

Danilo Petrucci felt exactly the same way, despite having been hauled up before the Stewards for a collision with the self same Aleix Espargaro previously. "I think most MotoGP riders are not happy about what Race Direction does, especially because there are many accidents, especially that happen not at the front, that are not judged like the guys at the front. There are some accidents in MotoGP that are judged differently to Moto3. We have to talk tomorrow in the Safety Commission, for sure there are many things to fix about that."

Cal Crutchlow simply refused to answer when asked about Freddie Spencer as head of the FIM Stewards, making his displeasure with the setup very clear. Aleix Espargaro said what was needed was someone with more recent racing experience. "Full credit to Freddie Spencer. Full respect to him," Espargaro said. "But when was last time he rode a MotoGP bike? Not easy. But I think we need a position of somebody who rode a MotoGP six, seven, eight years ago that has been a rider in the maximum class but also understands a bit the MotoGP feeling. This would help a little bit more. I repeat it’s not easy to do this job, especially in this year when equality of all riders and bikes in this class is maximum."

Change is not always progress

The FIM Panel of Stewards was brought into being to deal with incidents after the fallout of the Sepang 2015 clash between Valentino Rossi and Marc Márquez. Before then, Race Director Mike Webb handled all such incidents. The move was meant to allow Webb to focus on the safe running of the race, without being distracted by the need to hand out penalties. The change has certainly left Webb free to get on with running the race. But it doesn't appear to have improved the handling of penalties, which was its raison d'etre in the first place

Maybe having Mike Webb run the show wasn't such a bad idea after all.

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Great stuff, David, Thanks!

Episode # 2020(b) - The Case of the Missing Loop

The fabled Westschleife alteration

Just curious if you have any knowledge of the mysterious Westschleife extension that has never been realized? The concept revitalizes the lost sections of the Österreichring/A1-Ring (but significantly widened for modern safety requirements). This has been floating about for a few decades, and if it is truly dead it is probably time to give it a proper burial. But the damn thing keeps popping up on the radar every couple of years like clockwork. It looks like every so often someone takes a bulldozer and does something...but not to any extent that could be called meaningful. Did all of the construction funds get spent on giant Bull statues instead?

The current track is like having furniture movers remove the legs from your dining room table so they can fit it through the door of the new place. But once it is moved, they never re-install the legs. They just toss them in the corner and tell us they will be developing a plan to put the legs back on, followed by Auf Wiedersehen. Pity, it used to be a nice table when it had legs.

So, any ideas? There appears to be a nice racing circuit in the exact same place as the current one, but it really needs the legs put back on. Cheers.


Cal said any mods to T3 would have to lower, not raise, entry speeds to T4, which is hard braking like T3 and also downhill

I would not be opposed to that T3 modification if some kind of chicane is put between T3 & T4. Riders would get another passing opportunity and top speeds would be reduced. Win win I think

That looks like a fast flowing track.  Man that would be aweful. We hate fast flowing tracks that follow the contours of the country side. Those tracks are the worst.

Eyes roll

Well, we wouldn't want to insult Dieter by coming in with the low bid, would we mate?

The first post was from an F1 site, and those lads have no imagination. Probably comes from years of worrying themselves sick wondering what lap is best for a pit-stop, and is a one-stop strategy better than a two-stop with the undercut? Thrilling.

And since I have no real knowledge of proper track design, and fuck-all for qualifications, why not take a stab at it?


Leave the track surface wide into T1, but run them straight into the hill, with no severe braking (at the start), so we can get the field away safely. The new section bumps the circuit back up into the hill in three places to provide some nice changes in elevation. The hill-tops are all left-handers, so a little positive camber to help with the colder left side of the tire. T1 to T5 will still be a very fast stretch. T5 thru T9 provides a bunch of overtaking possibilities, especially if T5 and T9 have a bit of negative camber. Rejoin the current layout at what would now be T10. The paddock, garages, facilities, grandstand, and all of the other current infrastructure can remain untouched, including that God-Damned Bull.

But sod my rubbish attempt, turn it over to one of the great professionals in the field, and with the infrastructure untouched it looks like it is just a terrace, grade, pave, and spread some kitty litter job. Dieter can probably pay for this with what he has under his couch cushions. Cheers.

one summers' day last year on that very stretch of tarmac Jinx. I have to confess to be a worshipper of old, lost or abandoned racetracks. Oh, how my friends marvel when I delay our jaunts through Europe as I search-and sometimes even find-that old faded bit of armco or tarmac. The excellent 'Circuits of the Past' website shows the old part in more detail    We walked round the track on a roasting hot qualifying day last year. The circuit bus goes up there and various other access vehicles, and old perverts like myself. Tracks change for many reasons, back in the day it wasn't necessarily safety as, well, that was for softies wasn't it? Jackie Stewart's horror crash at Spa F1 in 1966 set him on a path of bending the greedy circuit owners into putting measures in place; much of it misdirected for bikes-more Armco and the dubious catch fencing- but still he was a formidable protester, even when one of the august publications of the day suggested he should take up knitting. Think he said over his life he'd attended over 50 funerals of fellow drivers, the killing years..

So, on Saturdays I wander around circuits, unless like Sepang, Misano, Aragon etc they make it difficult or impossible. It gives me perspective but also a chance to snoop around old stuff, bit like searching down the side of the sofa, you never know. As with many circuits, the elevations can be much more severe than the terrain-flattening cameras reveal and RBR is no exception. Like parts of Mugello, maybe Spa, it chases up down and through a valley; even me and my companion were amazed by how steep and sharp turn 3 is. We walked up the old circuit and yes I wondered then why this part of it was consigned to history. The circuit lay dormant for years, parts were cut away from it, then abandoned before RB took it. Land ownership or similar constraints could be the stumbling blocks-doubt it's money- but it's clear in some areas, particularly the downhill parts, lots of land, cows and bells would need to be shifted. And yes Jinx, the Westschliefe story (wasn't that on Broadway?) does flicker on the monitor from time to time and it's fascinating because that side of the track especially does present options in a back to the future kind of way, assuming RB have all the land there. You never know, there could be a farm on the freeway situation, similar to when the farmer wouldn't sell and they had to build the M62 over the Pennines in England around it, with all the access tunnels etc. But walking around the place there is plenty that could be done if money and the will is there. We visited the legendary Salzburgring the day before, Mick Doohan's favourite set of bends, last visited by myself in 1991, a time of titans. Considered modern and wide at its launch in 1969 it is a lethal racetrack in a beautiful setting, hemmed in by the rolling valley floor, Cadwell on steroids- sound familiar? 

Look, I'm 57 next, been watching since 1975, maybe my attitude to the risk is outdated now but by 'eck do I get exited watching trackside at Mugello, Spa, Spielberg, Craner Curves etc. Motorsport is dangerous. So much effort today involves doing everything possible to eliminate risk and danger, even it's only to ensure someone or something is blamed in our increasinglyly risk averse and litigious world. Fast vehicles colliding on track creates a chaotic lottery where trajectories become random, t'was ever thus. Where we share with F1 we maybe have to consider our differences (which are very many), take our bat and ball home and play on our own fields. Doena have increased the excitement, the spectacle, the competitiveness but lurking in the forest there is always the darkness, you just can't always see it as the sunlight makes it difficult and rare. I have been at circuits where the riders have not returned, I don't want it to happen again, but inevitably it will, even in the fast procession of F1, it's why we are here..


Thanks for sharing that, mate, thoise are great stories wonderfully presented. Your writing brought to mind one of my favorite John Prine songs, "Souvenirs"...and I can offer no higher praise than that. Cheers.

PS, And no, in my heart I really do not think any of this will ever come to fruition. In today's business model, they have found it is far less expensive to convinvce us something is wonderful than to put in the work to actually make it so. The triumph of bullshit over bulldozers I guess. Cheers.

"they have found it is far less expensive to convinvce us something is wonderful than to put in the work to actually make it so."

Absolutely bang on Jinx, after somehow finding myself watching an F1 highlights programme from Silverstone 2 recently (why? where was I at? Will I even recognise myself if I met me in the street?), the commentator genuinely made the events sound exiting, except what I was seeing wouldn't synchronise. Love your circuit trace, like I said, back to the future. Keep writing chap 😊

Part I

When built as Österreichring in 1969 - btw it was built in the same time frame like the Salzburgring with just two or three month difference - it was from the very beginning a monstrous track extremly fast and dangerous. With the hype of Jochen Rindt and then Niki Lauda in the seventies it was a moneyprinting machine for the owners and the neighbouring landowners (mainly farmers at that time ) as well. Motorcycle races at that time were then staged at the Salzburgring to have a clean cut with no interferences. But in the eighties things went south and less money was printed at the races and the track itself was way to dangerous for the racecars. So in 1987 events like F1 came to an end as at least half of all F1 cars were destroyed in two big start collisions (find it on Youtube...). Now with almost no money printed the landowners started to argue about who deserves what and who's deprived most. For these reasons the Österreichring fell asleep and never woke up again.

Part II

I lived quite a while in this area so i can remember what happened then in the nineties, local politicians made a push to wake up - better revive the Ring. At that time it was clear that most of the landowners and neighbours were willing to struck any efforts regarding racing down. ... Grass roots and environmental movements to fight noise , immissions whatever, you name it... Only rebuilding on a smaller scale was feasible at this time, which led to the actual layout and the moneyprinting scheme started over again at least for a few years. Even the motorcycles came as the Salzburgring was not only sleeping but in coma at that time (and is by now), but even then it was always noted - ! this is not a motorcycle racetrack ! - and in 2003 the track fell asleep - again!

Part III

This was the time that Red Bull stepped in and found it a bargain so Mateschitz bought the Ring promising to pour billions of euros into it, creating a Disneyland for gearheads. It was again the time of the neighbours and landowners - but as they saw no moneyprinting for them - to struck it down. Red Bull decided to back down first but moved further on quiet feet and the - now - Red Bull Ring was reopened in 2011, with " no intentions " to bring back racing events of any kind but they kept their feet quiet and lateron they announced to bring back F1 and afterwards MotoGP. They did it with some clever moves on the neighbours and landowners, e.g. they offered free paint jobs for homes and houses to get better advertising shots for tourism in the region or make the leader of the doubting neighbours a consultant for noise and immissions with a decent salary for each day measuring the noise ;) .


By now the abandoned Westschleife is used as a parking lot for tour coaches on racedays, knowing the terrain a little i assume reviving the track there would be way to expensive ( the first drafts when Red Bull took over show such ideas , you can even find sketches on the internet ). As it is still the layout that was created in the nineties the - this is not a motorcycle racetrack - statement should resonate a bit, maybe it would work to straighten the kink following a left hander and a U-turn onto the upper straight?

As i'm now living near Salzburgring, which is still in coma. There were rumours a few years ago that Red Bull wanted to buy the Salzburgring as well ( it is only a few miles from their HQ in Fuschl ), even negotiations with neighbours started but it seems to be a common scheme for landowners to switch into moneyprinting mode, in this case Red Bull backed off and turned around like  "... not again!" ;)

The current situation really highlights the loss of the penalty point system. The stewards could hand a few out to those in the firing line at the moment, and if those riders are actually dangerous/dirty/adjective of your choice they will be exposed as such when they eventually start getting race penalties after accruing too many points. If not the riders who cop points can feel aggreived with no actual on-track consequence and 12 months later the points are gone.

This is the thing.
A couple of weeks ago Pol runs wide, and Zarco goes for the gap, and Pol runs into him (really the dude needs to look where he's going) and Pols goes down. Zarco gets called in for a talking to. If that had been Marquez there would have been no talking to.
Now Zarco takes an alternate line, and gets hit from behind.
Again fingers are waved, but if that was Dovizioso would there be finger waving?
Everyone should be treated equally under the rules regardless of which class, or finishing position.
When Marquez came charging through the pack and was using other riders as berms he should have been black flagged for dangerous riding, but instead the Spanish run organization just shrugged their shoulders.
It's not OK.


Equality seems to be the issue these days - whether it be riders, race directors or commenters. Or anyone else.

Looks like the new Westshleife alteration would favor the Yamahas the least. And the gravel trap at the old T4 would need to be extended a long ways with more fine, smooth gravel.

Still, I'd bet the riders would love it.

Seeing that photo of the wall and catch fence does not sit well with me.... reminds me too much of dangerous catch fences at end of shorter drag strips that have claimed the lives of too many over the years.

Rather id offer to layout some inflatable above ground swimming pools ten abreast across the grass there up the hill and you'd be good to go. 

Will stop the bike better than you'd imagine and swallow it up at same time they deflate and allow rider to come to rest without it rebounding into them.

stopped racing what 8-9 years ago... still active in the MotoGP paddock... raced at most all current tracks... 


Where do we cast our vote so he replaces Freddy Spencer?

he's busy on the safety side and I'm  still struggling with him taking out Harada to take the 250 title. Neil Hodgson, at least it would get him of BTsport :D

Paolo Simoncelli's article at gpone combined with Dovizioso's and Rossi's perspective on how the green pavement on the outside of curbs, which was placed in order to increase safety, actually encourages riders to take more risks, may be one of the reasons for the increase in aggression of current day GP racing. That is a lot of experience speaking. Everyone is clamoring for more consistency in rulings from the stewards, and yet there is a fundamental problem with the tracks. If there was fine gravel or grass on the outside of the curbs, riders would take more care with their brake points which equates to more sensible racing. What these guys are talking about makes sense.

Forget nationalities here. Listen to the collective wisdom of their words. It's not the first time that an intended purpose has an opposite effect.

Unfortunately I don't believe that's ever going to happen for one simple reasons: noise.

The track would pass right next to that built-up area. At the moment there's a thick pack of trees acting as a noise shield, with at least some level of efficiency.

Austria has just banned motorbikes louder than 95dB on certain public mountain roads, so there's very little chance the locals would be ok with this.

Easiest and possibly worst way of slowing them down is a loop/like a mini Mebourne loop at Donington in the empty area beneath T3 and it's exit.

Noise if the old western side is used seems to rule it out and this keeps everything inside the current track layout so Red Bull should be able to do this. Also should slow down the approach to T4 which they complain about losing the brakes as I type in FP1

I think the main reasons we won't see track alterations is a confluence of large houses with large plots of picturesque land that won't sell up acreage for track developments for even the biggest bag of toffee. 
The track could be made into an all time great considering the setting and it's heritage; fast corners in the hills make for good racetracks, just not for F1...

Unsurprisingly this was Hermann Tilke's first job I think, butchering the incredible but deadly Österreichring. Turns 1,2 and 3 make up one of my least favourite sectors on the calendar. They're dumb, car park corners and apparently incredibly dangerous too.

I have not been able to understand the different outcomes of the investigation into the two incidents, Zarco-Espargaro and Oliveira-Espargaro. Why was Zarco punished in Brno but Oliveira not in Austria? One starts to think in oblique ways...

The death of Luis Salom showed the danger of concrete runoff areas. Sometimes there is a delay between the integrating of an experience and the understanding. Maybe motogp should take a more critical look at concrete runoff areas. The problem may be that what works for F1 does not work for Motogp. Can fine gravel be installed before a Motogp race in the concrete gravel areas then removed when F1 comes to town? Or maybe what would be more cost effective is what others have alluded to, which is much stricter penalties for running off on the green concrete areas during the races.

Currently you have a big stoppie for T1, T3 and T4. Precedeing each is a nice big straight. Bike is sitting up, mostly, and is at it's best for getting from slow to mad. T4 currently is on the edge with the brakes. So the first half of the lap is slow to mad, stoppie, repeat, until your are at the apex of T4. I understand the worry about cutting T3 to make a more sweeping corner would mean a higher speed before braking for T4 but i'm not sure it actually would.

The straight between T3 and T4 would be shorter. The bikes would not be flat out through the turn, 2nd gear or a 3rd. Also you've removed one stoppie out of the equation so you have more time to handle brake temps, calipers or whatever, between T1 and T4. For sure the speed reached would be nowhere near that of Mugello T1 or Qatar T1 and depending on the shape of the turn, they would approach T4 slower than they do now.