MotoGP riders' request to shorten COTA race “not taken seriously”

Tech 3’s Danilo Petrucci says the MotoGP field requested the Grand Prix of the Americas to be shortened on safety grounds, but organisers “didn’t take us seriously” in the safety commission.

MotoGP riders' request to shorten COTA race “not taken seriously”
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The bumpy track surface at the Circuit of the Americas has come in for much criticism this weekend, with many riders labelling it as dangerous.

Due to the vicious nature of the bumps, many riders said on Friday the idea of shortening the 20-lap race would be brought up in the safety commission meeting as some feared getting to the finish would be physically too difficult.

Double MotoGP race winner Petrucci says this idea was put forward in the safety commission, but says the FIM and Dorna Sports’ representatives chairing the meeting “thought we were joking”.

“We asked but they thought we were joking,” Petrucci said on shortening Sunday’s Austin race.

“In safety commission we asked to shorten the race but I don’t think it’s possible.

“We need really to… I don’t know what we can do, I don’t know if all the riders agree with that.

“But for sure 90% wanted to shorten the race. [If it was] me, I would have shortened the race for sure.

“As I told you, they I think they think we were joking about shortening the race, so [we] had them laughing let’s say.

“But they don’t take us seriously, so for me it could be a real regret. But for them no way.”

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro says riders were asked in the safety commission what the minimum requirement would be for MotoGP to return to Austin in 2022, with all of the agreeing that a resurfacing from Turn 2 to Turn 10 would be acceptable.

Parts of COTA were resurfaced back in 2020 following complaints from both MotoGP and Formula 1 in 2019.

“So basically in the safety commission - apart from one or two riders where everything is very fun for them, they enjoy the bumps, no problem, let’s have a beer – all the other riders were very angry and saying this track is not safe, that this track is completely unacceptable to race here,” Espargaro said.

“For me and also a lot of my mates, if we made a cooperation, we’d say we couldn’t race here tomorrow.

“But we’re here, it is how it is, but if next year if there is no solution it’s impossible for us to come here and race, and almost 95% of the riders were on the same line.

“They promised us they’d resurface from minimum Turn 2 to Turn 10.

“We asked for more, but they asked us what is the minimum to come here next year, and all of us were agreed the minimum is Turn 2 to the end of Turn 10, which is the worst part of the track, because there is a big bump at Turn 2 and also Turn 10, but corner six is also very bad.

“So, this is why we said this part has to be resurfaced and they promised us if they don’t do this job we will not come next year.”

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