MotoGP title protagonist Jorge Lorenzo has vented his anger at the sport’s current rules that allow riders to race using a slick tyre on a damp surface, rather than stopping a Grand Prix until conditions stabilize.
The series’ so-called flag-to-flag rules mean that riders are forced to switch bikes from dry-to-wet or wet-to-dry in changeable weather conditions. In previous eras, for example, riders would be able to call for a halt to racing if it rained while they were using slicks and the restart would wait until conditions stabilized.
The current rules ensure, however, that races are run within their TV broadcast slots, rather than lengthy stoppages and delays to wait for a track to dry or become completely wet to suit either tyre and setup.
Despite the use of tyre warmers, Lorenzo crashed out of Sunday’s San Marino Grand Prix soon after switching from wet to slick tyres on a drying circuit.
“The thing that we have to avoid is riding on slicks in the wet,” said Lorenzo. “It’s very, very dangerous, and only the riders on the bikes know how dangerous it is.
“It’s the worst thing in our sport, in my opinion, it’s the only thing that I would say in terms of safety because it’s very dangerous. As with my crash today, it was plain.
“I don’t know if it’s because of television rights or something like that, that they changed this rule.”
Lorenzo added the that introduction of intermediate tyres next year will only go some way to solving the problem: “Intermediates are quite similar to the slick to be honest, when it rains a lot, so it can help a little bit, but maybe only 10 per cent or 50 per cent.”
No serious injuries
Lorenzo was first reported to have suffered an injury to his right hand in his crash, which happened at high speed on the approach to Turn 15.
He fell heavily and then somersaulted across the gravel, but got up and walked away unaided.
“Luckily I was fine after the crash,” he added. “But I was a little bit worried, because my hand was getting bigger, and also my head suffered a lot of blows. For some minutes I didn’t see perfectly, but now I feel good. This is one of the positive points of today.”
Championship still in his sights
Although Lorenzo has lost another 11 points to Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi in the title fight, having entered the previous race at Silverstone level with the Italian legend, he believes he has time over the remaining five races to overcome the 23-point deficit.
“What I have here is that we have to be positive, there’s no words to complain or regret anything,” he said. “For this moment, I made these two mistakes and I’m going to try to learn from it for the future.
“So now it is 23 points. And earlier this season in four races we recovered 29, so it’s possible that happens again in the next few.
“Also that Valentino might make some mistakes, that’s a possibility. For sure he has some pressure, because he has more to lose than to win. But it’s true that I don’t need races like today and Silverstone.”