Latest News

Season Length Sees MotoGP Engine Allocation Increased From 7 To 8 Engines

With the expansion of the MotoGP season to a record 21 races for 2022, the Grand Prix Commission has agreed to increase the number of engines each rider is allowed to use throughout the season. For this year, and if no events are canceled, then each rider will have 8, rather than 7 engines to use throughout the season.

The change is a response to the length of the season, and comes with conditions. Riders will only be allowed to use their 8th engine starting from the 19th event of the season. This gives the riders 7 engines to use for the first 18 events, plus an additional engine to be used from FP1 at the 19th round, the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island.

This change will be applied for subsequent seasons as well. From now on, if the MotoGP calendar published before the start of the season has up to 20 races scheduled, then riders will be allowed 7 engines per season. If the calendar has 21 or 22 races (the current maximum number agreed with the teams in the contracts signed with Dorna), then they will be allowed 8 engines, with the 8th only available from the 19th event onward.

The FIM press release appears below:


FIM Grand Prix World Championship
Decisions of the Grand Prix Commission

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Paul Duparc (FIM), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Biense Bierma (MSMA), assisted by Carlos Ezpeleta (Dorna), Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting) and Corrado Cecchinelli (Director of Technology), in an electronic meeting held on 8 May 2022, made the following decision:

Technical Regulations

ENGINE USE MOTOGP CLASS – EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY

Currently, MotoGP regulations permit manufacturers in the MotoGP class to use a maximum of seven engines during the season. (Nine engines for manufacturers with concessions).

This regulation was established when the calendar comprised less than 20 races.

Because the 2022 calendar foresees 21 races it has been agreed to allow the use of one further engine providing that, ultimately, there are 19 races or more. The extra engine may only be used for the 19th. or subsequent races.

The regulations have been updated as follows:

Less than 21 races published on the official calendar that is issued by the FIM prior to the start of the first race:

  •  Manufacturers will have a maximum engine allocation of 7 engines (9 for manufacturers with concessions).

21 or 22 races published on the calendar that is issued by the FIM prior to the start of the first race:

  • Manufacturers will have a maximum engine allocation of 8 engines (10 for manufacturers with concessions).

The use of this 8th (or 10th) engine will only be allowed starting from the 19th event.

Source: 

Back to top

Here At Long Last: Suzuki's Press Release Announcing MotoGP Withdrawal

Eleven days after the members of the Suzuki's MotoGP team were informed and the news leaked out, on the Monday after Jerez, Suzuki have finally issued a press release confirming the news. Suzuki have decided to withdraw from MotoGP at the end of the 2022 season.

The press release is very short and scant on details, but there are a few things that can be deduced from it. Firstly, Suzuki do not state that they are withdrawing, but in discussions with Dorna about withdrawing. On Wednesday, Spanish journalist Nico Abad caught up briefly with Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, who told him that he "did not see a solution" to the problem with Suzuki. Negotiations now are likely to focus on the terms of the withdrawal.

The second detail is that the reasons Suzuki give for the withdrawal are the "current economical situation" and "big changes that the Automotive world is facing in these years", forcing them to "shift costs and human resources to develop new technologies". The latter statement seems to imply that Suzuki's main focus will be on electric vehicles for the next few years, and they are sacrificing the MotoGP program as part of that.

The process of a withdrawal is likely to take several months. In the meantime, the Suzuki Ecstar MotoGP team will line up at Le Mans this weekend for the French GP.

The official press release from Suzuki appears below:


SUZUKI ANNOUNCEMENT

Team Suzuki Press Office – May 12.

Suzuki Motor Corporation is in discussions with Dorna regarding the possibility of ending its participation in MotoGP at the end of 2022.

Unfortunately, the current economical situation and the need to concentrate its effort on the big changes that the Automotive world is facing in these years, are forcing Suzuki to shift costs and human resources to develop new technologies.

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to our Suzuki Ecstar Team, to all those who have supported Suzuki's motorcycle racing activities for many years and to all Suzuki fans who have given us their enthusiastic support.

Source: 

Back to top

Joan Mir Was Ready To Sign New Suzuki Deal Before Hamamatsu Withdrawal

Three days ago, the bombshell news came out about Suzuki’s decision to leave MotoGP at the end of 2022. So far no official confirmation (nor denial) has been forthcoming from the Hamamatsu factory. Yes, we are all aware of the Golden Week national holiday in Japan, but we cannot forget that lot of careers are hanging on this decision.

We are not just talking about the mechanics and other team members, but the riders themselves too. Because believe it or not, apart from that confidential meeting (that hasn’t remained confidential...) there has been no contact between the team/factory and the riders’ managers. Not with Joan Mir’s manager, for sure, as we have learned.

Anyway this is a crucial year on the rider market, with almost all the current contracts ending at the end of this year. So you all can imagine how upset Paco Sanchez (manager of Joan Mir) is with the current situation.

’This is a really unprofessional attitude’ says the Spaniard's manager, who is coincidentally also a lawyer. ’Nobody from the team or Japan has contacted me to say anything. I understand that Suzuki Motor Corporation obliged the senior team staff not to say anything to anybody. But this is really unfair, unprofessional and an irresponsible way to manage this crisis.’

Sanchez tried to reach Livio Suppo many times from the first moment the news reached him, but his calls were never answered. And if you think that Sanchez (who had left Jerez by Monday) was informed by his rider, you are wrong. He learned it when the journalist who broke the news asked him for a comment.

The Spaniard manager was waiting all Tuesday, before moving into action and starting to reach out to all the team managers who had showed interest in his rider in the past. ’I had waited long enough’ he said Tuesday evening, ’we don’t have any commitment to Suzuki anymore’.

He also emphasized that the rumors about them having a contract with HRC are far from being true. ’From last October our intention was to stay with Suzuki and they also assured me that Joan was their first choice. ’

Sanchez was at Portimão and Jerez as well, and he had several meetings with Suzuki team manager Livio Suppo and MotoGP project leader Shinichi Sahara. They have been finalizing the last couple of details before getting ready to sign a new contract, that as it stands now, will never happen.

Now Sanchez has only one goal: find the best seat for the 2020 World Champion. Maybe it’s still not too late, as apart from Pecco Bagnaia extending with the factory Ducati Team, no other deal has been closed so far this year. Besides Bagnaia, the only seats already filled in factory teams are Marc Marquez with Honda and Brad Binder with KTM through 2024, and Franco Morbidelli with Yamaha for 2023.

It will be interesting to see how the whole situation evolves, how Dorna and the team sponsors will react (the sponsors who also haven’t been informed yet about anything...) and how much will it cost to Suzuki to really leave MotoGP for the second time in a little more than a decade.


If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting MotoMatters.com. You can help by either taking out a subscription, supporting us on Patreon, by making a donation, or contributing via our GoFundMe page. You can find out more about subscribing to MotoMatters.com here.

Source: 

Back to top

Dorna Issue Statement On Suzuki Withdrawal - Remind Suzuki Of Contractual Obligations

Dorna have officially responded to the reports that Suzuki will be withdrawing from MotoGP at the end of the 2022 season. Dorna have pointed out that Suzuki signed a five-year contract to race in MotoGP from 2022 through 2026, and that they do not have the right to unilaterally terminate the contract.

The statement is a warning to Suzuki that there will be legal consequences for withdrawal. Dorna changed their contractual arrangements with the factories after Kawasaki pulled out of MotoGP at the end of 2008. Previously, Dorna had a contract with the MSMA, representing all of the factories participating, which gave them no leverage over individual parties. From 2016, Dorna signed contracts with each factory separately, giving them a much more powerful enforcement mechanism. If Suzuki go through with their plan to withdraw, they will face serious legal consequences.

The Dorna statement also points out that there is no shortage of interest in MotoGP. Teams are interested in taking the two grid slots which will be freed up by Suzuki's withdrawal, meaning they believe they will be able to maintain the grid at 24 bikes for the foreseeable future. MotoGP grid slots are more valuable to teams than Moto2 or Moto3, as they are far more heavily subsidized by Dorna.

So far, no statement has been forthcoming from Suzuki. It is currently 'Ōgon Shūkan', or Golden Week in Japan, a week of national holidays in which a lot of offices are closed. That may help explain why the team has yet to issue a press release, as it may not be possible to get such a statement officially signed off by Suzuki HQ in Hamamatsu. That, too, makes the timing of the Suzuki statement even more curious.

The official Dorna statement appears below:


Statement from Dorna Sports regarding Suzuki

Tuesday, 03 May 2022

Following recent rumours of Suzuki departing MotoGP™ at the end of 2022, Dorna Sports has officially contacted the factory in order to remind them that the conditions of their contract to race in MotoGP™ do not allow for them to take this decision unilaterally.

However, should Suzuki depart following an agreement between both parties, Dorna will decide on the ideal number of riders and teams racing in the MotoGP™ class from 2023.

Dorna continues to receive high levels of interest from a number of both official factories and Independent Teams looking to join the MotoGP™ grid as the sport continues to set a global example of close competition, innovation and entertainment, reaching hundreds of millions of fans around the world.

Interest from these parties has been re-confirmed in the past 24 hours.

Source: 

Back to top

Suzuki To Withdraw From MotoGP At End Of 2022 Season

As the paddock packed up after the Jerez test on Monday, held after the Spanish GP at the circuit, the bombshell news emerged that Suzuki is to withdraw from MotoGP at the end of the current season. Motorsport.com's Oriol Puigdemont was the first to break the news, which I have since had confirmed by multiple sources in the MotoGP paddock. The team were told on Monday morning, before the test, with an official announcement expected on Tuesday.

The decision was a financial one. GPOne.com published a story citing sources that say that Suzuki's decision was based on financial grounds, with the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine depressing the global economy. Paddock rumor suggests that one of the things Livio Suppo had been brought into Suzuki to do was to make budget cuts where possible, but nobody, not even Suppo, could have expected this decision, which came down from Suzuki's board of directors.

The timing of the withdrawal is bizarre, at least when viewed from a sporting perspective. The factory won a world title in 2020 with Joan Mir, and have two riders widely regarded as among the most talented on the grid. Alex Rins is currently fourth in the championship, 20 points behind the leader Fabio Quartararo, while Joan Mir is sixth, trailing Quartararo by 33 points. The Suzuki GSX-RR is one of the best bikes on the grid, especially since Suzuki's engineers found more horsepower and more torque for the 2022 season. Mir and Rins can be expected to be in the title hunt for 2022, only to be dropped at the end of the season.

The economic costs could be high as well. Suzuki signed a five-year contract with Dorna in April last year, promising to compete in MotoGP from 2022 to 2026. Dorna has bolstered their contracts after Kawasaki withdrew at the end of 2008, during the global financial crisis which followed in the wake of the Lehmann Brothers collapse. The board of directors of Dorna will be meeting to discuss how to address the withdrawal, and a statement will surely follow the announcement by Suzuki.

Suzuki's withdrawal is unlikely to see the grid reduced from 24 to 22 bikes. Instead, the two slots are likely to be taken by an Aprilia satellite team. Aprilia have been trying to convince several satellite teams to switch to Aprilia, as the Noale factory believes the time is right to expand their efforts and to create a space where they can park young talent to be nurtured.

The withdrawal of Suzuki also opens the question of where Alex Rins and Joan Mir will end up. Suzuki's exit blows the rider market open wide, at least behind Fabio Quartararo. Mir is now almost certain to end up at Repsol Honda, the 2020 world champion taking the place of Pol Espargaro alongside Marc Marquez. Alex Rins will be a highly prized rider, especially for a factory like Yamaha who have a very similar bike.

The press release is expected tomorrow. But this is a story which is likely to develop very fast. There are plenty more twists in the road.

Source: 

Back to top

MotoGP Official Testing To Be Restricted To 8 Days A Season From 2023

The MotoGP testing regime is to be revised again for the 2023 season. At Portimão, the Grand Prix Commission agreed to reduce the total amount of test days to 8 in total, a reduction of 3 days compared to the 2022 season.

The 2023 preseason kicks off with a 1-day test at Valencia, after the race. After the winter break, MotoGP takes to the track again at Sepang. There is a three-day shakedown test for test riders and rookies, and then three more days for the full MotoGP field at Sepang.

To end the preseason, there will be another two-day test at the Lusail International Circuit, ahead of the first grand prix of the season at Qatar.

The in-season testing has been cut too. There will be only two post-race tests, at Jerez and Barcelona. In 2022, there are four days of in-season testing, with one-day tests on the Monday after Jerez and Barcelona, and a two-day test after Misano.

The reason for the reduction in testing is simple. The bargain made between the teams and Dorna is that as the calendar expands with more racing, testing would be reduced. The independent teams are some of the main beneficiaries of this, as they get paid to go racing, but they have to pay for their expenses around the test.

The return of the Valencia test is perhaps the biggest surprise. Previously, teams had pushed to drop the Valencia post-race test, as the track does not provide useful data due to its unusual layout. However, with a reduction of the post-race test from 2 days to 1, it makes little sense to pack up the paddock, drive down to Jerez, and set it all up again for a single day.

The fact that tests are to be held at Qatar and Valencia mean that these two races will once again bookend the season, with Qatar kicking off the 2023 season, and wrapping up at Valencia

That is the program for 2023, at least. The wording of the FIM press release issued after the GPC met is deliberately broad as to the locations of the tests. It states merely that there will be a 3-day test and a 2-day test before the start of the season, two 1-day test after races, and a 1-day test after the final race of the season.

That leaves open future changes to the calendar. Qatar is expected to be the first race of the season for some time, but Dorna's plan to rotate the Spanish circuits and Portimão, with 3 rounds a year at the Iberian peninsula, means that the season could finish at tracks other than Valencia in some years.


If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting MotoMatters.com. You can help by either taking out a subscription, supporting us on Patreon, by making a donation, or contributing via our GoFundMe page. You can find out more about subscribing to MotoMatters.com here.

Source: 

Back to top

Marc Marquez Cleared To Race In Austin As Diplopia Improves

Marc Marquez' second bout of diplopia, or double vision, inside the space of six months has been resolved favorably. The Repsol Honda team today announced he would make his return in Austin, after being given the go ahead by his doctors.

The news was not a complete surprise. Marquez had posted earlier on Tuesday that he had been at Alcarras, riding a Honda CBR600RR, as a test of his eyesight. That test, and the examination by Dr Sanchez Dalmau, the ophthalmologist treating Marquez, showed that Marquez had improved enough to be able to take part in the Grand Prix of The Americas in Austin.

Marquez' current bout of diplopia had occurred after a monster highside during warm up for the Indonesian Grand Prix at Mandalika. Though he came away without breaking any bones, he was ruled out of the race with concussion, and on the flight home to Barcelona, he developed a mild case of double vision. His ophthalmologist prescribed a conservative approach, as he had after the problem occurred in October 2021, after Marquez had crashed during enduro training.

Marquez will be particularly keen to make his return at the Circuit of The Americas, because of his stellar record there. He has won there eight times, only missing out once in 2019, when an issue with engine braking caused him to crash. Despite his injury, his record in Texas suggests he will start the race as one of the favourites.

The press release from Honda appears below:


Marquez set for Austin return as Espargaro plots revenge

Marc Marquez will return to the MotoGP World Championship in Austin aboard his Repsol Honda Team RC213V after consultation and clearance from his medical team.

Doctors have cleared Marc Marquez for a return to Grand Prix competition after his fall in Warm Up at the Indonesian GP and subsequent diplopia diagnosis. The Repsol Honda Team rider has completed his conservative treatment plan and is ready to return to action at Round 4, the Grand Prix of The Americas in Austin, Texas. Before heading for the US, he confirmed his feelings and vision on a CBR600RR around the Alcarras circuit.

Marquez’s record around the Texan circuit speaks for itself, having only missed victory on one occasion when he crashed while comfortably leading in 2019. Even with his historic speed at the track, Marquez is not chasing immediate glory and is aiming to spend the weekend getting back up to speed with the Repsol Honda Team RC213V and continuing to build his feeling and speed on the new machine.

Pol Espargaro arrives in the United States of America with a point to prove after crashing out while chasing a podium in Argentina. Despite a mixed Saturday, Espargaro and his crew put everything in place to produce a strong race that showed more of the potential of the rider and the bike before the fall. In 2021, Espargaro finished tenth in Texas on the RC213V – his fourth top ten at the American circuit.

Aleix Espargaro sits atop the MotoGP World Championship with just 45 points after three races, Pol Espargaro is only 25 points back and despite missing two races, Marquez is 34 points from the top spot. With 18 races still left to run, and a potential of 450 points, it is still very much anyone’s championship.

Action at the 5.5-kilometer-long circuit commences at 09:55 Local Time on Friday, April 08. A unique schedule for the weekend will see the MotoGP race, running over 20 laps, start at 13:00 Local Time just before the Moto3 race which will conclude the day.

Marc Marquez

“Of course I am very happy to be back, it’s a great feeling to return and especially to do it at one of my favourite tracks. No matter the situation, I really enjoy riding in Texas and have incredible memories there. We have some work to do after missing two races and the whole Argentina weekend so I am not here to set one target at the moment. There’s many things to do and consider, but the important thing is that we are back on the bike this weekend.”

Pol Espargaro

“After the disappointment of last race I am looking forward to riding again this week. Austin was not the easiest circuit for us last year but with the new bike it’s interesting to come and compare what we did last year to this year. Already it looks like there will be many people in the mix for the championship this year so we need to get back to scoring points and putting together weekends like the start of the year. It’s time to get some more points on the board and start building something.”

Source: 

Back to top

New Schedule For Argentina MotoGP Round As Missing Freight Nears South America

The plane carrying the missing cargo from MotoGP is about to land in South America, which has given Dorna the confidence to announce a new schedule for the Argentina GP at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. More track time has been added, and the sessions reshuffled.

The Moto2 and Moto3 classes fill Saturday morning, with Moto3 kicking off at 8:15am for a 50 minute FP1 session. That is followed by 50 minutes of FP1 for Moto2, then both classes get 50 minutes for FP2.

At 12:35, MotoGP gets their FP1 session, a full hour. Qualifying for Moto3 and Moto2 follows, then another hour of FP2 for MotoGP. The day ends with Q1 and Q2 for MotoGP. Entry into Q2 will be decided by combined times in FP1 and FP2 for all three classes.

The action kicks off 10 minutes earlier on Sunday morning, with 20 minute warm up sessions for Moto3 and Moto2, followed by a 40 minute session for MotoGP. The race should then proceed as normal.

The new schedule appears below:

Time Class Session
Saturday    
08:15-09:05 Moto3 FP1
09:20-10:10 Moto2 FP1
     
10:25-11:15 Moto3 FP2
11:30-12:20 Moto2 FP2
     
12:35-13:35 MotoGP FP1
     
13:50-14:05 Moto3 Q1
14:15-14:30 Moto3 Q2
     
14:45-15:00 Moto2 Q1
15:10-15:25 Moto2 Q2
     
15:40-16:40 MotoGP FP2
     
17:05-17:20 MotoGP Q1
17:30-17:45 MotoGP Q2
     
Sunday    
09:20-09:40 Moto3 WUP
09:50-10:10 Moto2 WUP
10:20-11:00 MotoGP WUP
     
12:00 Moto3 Race (21 laps)
13:20 Moto2 Race (23 laps)
15:00 MotoGP Race (25 laps)
Source: 

Back to top

Friday Practice Scrapped In Argentina As Freight Delays Disrupt Schedule

A broken down cargo freighter has thrown the schedule for the Argentina Grand Prix at Termas de Rio Hondo into chaos. One of the aircraft carrying some of the freight from Indonesia to Argentina suffered problems, causing the freight to get stuck in Mombasa, Kenya, and delaying its arrival at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. With bikes from a number of teams missing - including the Gresini Ducati of MotoGP championship leader Enea Bastianini - it was decided to cancel practice for all three classes on Friday, and to begin the weekend on Saturday instead.

The problems are twofold. On the one hand, the bikes of several teams - including the Gresini and VR46 MotoGP squads, and the Marc VDS team in Moto2 - will only be delivered to the paddock very late on Thursday evening. The bikes were not cleaned after the race in Indonesia, and the MotoGP bikes, who rode in the rain, are in need of a very thorough clean. Mechanics from one team took 3 hours just to clean the bikes which had arrived from Mandalika.

The other issue is that it is not just bikes which are missing. Crates belonging to equipment suppliers have also been affected, meaning that spare helmets, gloves, leathers, boots etc are also missing. Typically, at least one set of leathers will travel with race bikes, but the spares are needed in case of the inevitable crashes. Missing bikes and spare equipment has made it impossible to get everything ready for Friday morning, without creating unsafe working conditions for paddock staff. Mechanics having to work on just a few hours sleep is a risk for everyone involved.

With Friday canceled, a new schedule has been drawn up for Saturday. It is a very hectic day of action, with two practice sessions for each class on Saturday morning/early afternoon. Moto3 and Moto2 get two 40-minute sessions, and MotoGP gets two 45-minute sessions. Qualifying then happens as usual on Saturday afternoon, the only difference being that FP4 for MotoGP is now FP3. Warm up has also been extended for all three classes, Moto2 and Moto3 getting 20 minutes, MotoGP half an hour.

The new schedule appears below, with the press release from Dorna with more details below that.

Time Class Session
Saturday    
08:45-09:25 Moto3 FP1
09:40-10:20 Moto2 FP1
10:35-11:20 MotoGP FP1
     
11:35-12:15 Moto3 FP2
12:30-13:10 Moto2 FP2
13:25-14:10 MotoGP FP2
     
14:35-14:50 Moto3 Q1
15:00-15:15 Moto3 Q2
15:30-15:45 Moto2 Q1
15:55-16:10 Moto2 Q2
     
16:25-16:55 MotoGP FP3
17:05-17:20 MotoGP Q1
17:30-17:45 MotoGP Q2
     
Sunday    
09:30-09:50 Moto3 WUP
10:00-10:20 Moto2 WUP
10:30-11:00 MotoGP WUP
     
12:00 Moto3 Race (21 laps)
13:20 Moto2 Race (23 laps)
15:00 MotoGP Race (25 laps)

Logistical issues oblige Argentina GP time schedule change
Thursday, 31 March 2022

Logistical issues affecting freight for the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship have obliged a schedule change for the upcoming Gran Prix of Argentina. Five cargo flights were scheduled to ship paddock material from Lombok, Indonesia, to Tucuman, close to Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina, in the week following the Indonesian GP.

Due to two separate issues affecting two different flights, the final freight for the Argentina GP will now arrive in the country on Friday. The flight contains freight for all classes of the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship, with changes to the time schedule therefore obliged for all classes.

Free Practice sessions will now begin and take place for all classes on Saturday morning. Of the sessions that normally take place on Friday, only one has been cancelled, with the other moved to Saturday. Qualifying will take place on Saturday afternoon, with a slightly later start time.

Warm Up sessions on Sunday morning have been extended, with each race set to begin at the same start time as originally scheduled.

The trip from Lombok to Termas consisted of five flights. Three of the planned cargo routes took freight from Lombok to Tucuman via technical stops in Mombasa, Lagos and Brazil. The two other routes saw freight planned to travel from Lombok to Doha, Doha to Accra in Ghana and then on to Tucuman.

The chain of events started last Wednesday when one of the five airplanes suffered a problem during a technical stop in Mombasa, Kenya. The first plane which had already arrived in Tucuman was then returned to Lombok to collect more freight, and unfortunately has also suffered a technical problem during a layover this past Wednesday night.

As of Thursday morning local time in Argentina, one cargo load remains grounded in Mombasa, Kenya. The plane is awaiting a part in order to return to the air, with two parts – one dispatched from Europe and another back up part, dispatched from the Middle East – already en route.

The plane is expected to take off this evening and will follow the route from Mombasa via Lagos and Brazil, arriving in Tucuman on Friday.

Dorna and IRTA would like to thank the teams and paddock personnel for their effort and understanding, as well as the promoter of the Grand Prix of Argentina for their invaluable support and assistance.

We also would like to thank fans for their patience, both those in Argentina and those watching around the world, and we look forward to enjoying some fantastic track action and racing on Saturday and Sunday.

Please find attached the new time schedule for the Gran Premio Michelin® de la Republica Argentina.

Back to top

Red Bull Ring Completes Work On Chicane After Turn 1 Aimed At Improving Safety

The Red Bull Ring, home of the Austrian Grand Prix at Spielberg, today announced that they have completed construction of a chicane between Turns 1 and 3, aimed at improving safety for motorcycle racing around the Austrian track. The change was deemed necessary after the horrific crash at the Austrian GP in 2020, when a collision between Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli through Turn 2 saw their bikes carry on through the gravel and cross the track after Turn 3, narrowly missing Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales as they exited Turn 3.

The solution devised by track designer Hermann Tilke, is to add a chicane, consisting of a sharp right and a sharp left about a third of the way along the straight between Turn 1 and Turn 3, just before the start of the fast kink which is Turn 2. The idea is to slow the bikes significantly on the approach to Turn 3, to prevent them from crossing the track in the event of a crash.

The work was extremely constrained by the terrain of the Spielberg track. The circuit is built on a hillside, and the section between Turns 1 and 3 climbs up a steepish hill flanked by a dirt bank leading on to a low hill on one side, and a steep slope on the other. Making room for the chicane meant digging out a section of the hillside to lay asphalt.

Although the chicane should slow bikes on the approach to Turn 3 by drastically reducing their exit speed out of the chicane, the new layout is not without its problems. Riders still exit Turn 1 over a blind crest where riders are prone to crash, and the braking zone for the chicane also includes the possibility of a rider losing the front on entry and their bike sliding across the track in the first section. The blind section out of Turn 1 is not the only problematic area. The exit of Turn 3 is also blind, as we saw when Dani Pedrosa crashed there in 2021.

The change will only be used for motorcycle racing. The F1 car series will continue to use the original layout.

Source: 

Back to top

Pages