Smith "worried" about Silverstone-like Valencia conditions

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Valentin Khorounzhiy
By: Valentin Khorounzhiy
Nov 16, 2018, 4:04 PM

KTM MotoGP rider Bradley Smith says he is "a little bit worried" about the Valencia race on Sunday after "borderline dangerous" track conditions in Friday practice.

The two Friday premier-class sessions were affected by heavy rain throughout and were both interrupted by red flags.

Smith, who is contesting his final weekend as a MotoGP full-timer before switching to an Aprilia test role, went as far as to liken the conditions in Valencia to those seen earlier in the season in Silverstone – where rain ultimately forced the cancellation of the race, with the state of the resurfaced track cited by many as the culprit.

Asked how he found the Valencia track on Friday, Smith said: “Borderline dangerous. There's just so much standing water. And it's, like, for no real reason because it's not really raining that hard.

“But I think this surface in certain areas is like Silverstone. Honestly that bad. Into Turn 1, there's no problems - but out of the last corner, going down the straight, it's as bad as Silverstone in terms of standing water.

“There's just not the big river that we got at Silverstone. Silverstone, it flooded and it was a big river - we don't get that here, but in terms of the standing water that's on the track and the spray, it's a similar type of level.

“It makes me a little bit worried, considering what happens come race day. Because tomorrow looks like it could be dry, so we won't have the problem, but then yeah, on Sunday, obviously if it rains like that we have to be really careful.”

Pramac Ducati's Danilo Petrucci, who topped FP2, described the conditions as being “at the limit” - although his principal concern was poor visibility.

“With all the riders on track, I stay for a while behind [Marc] Marquez, and on the main straight with a lot of water, visibility is very very low,” he said.

“I don't know if, with a lot of riders for the race, if the back of the group will see anything.

“On the main straight especially there's a lot of standing water and it's very difficult to see. The conditions are very very on the limit.”

World champion Marc Marquez reckons the day's running was saved by the draining of the Spanish track and feels it would have been "too risky" to go out in those conditions on other circuits of the calendar.

"There's two or three areas we need to watch out for because it's where the water is crossing. The track drains very well but obviously there's a few points where the water crosses and you have to be careful," Marquez said.

"I would say today we were saved because Valencia has great draining and great grip. In many other circuits it would have been too risky to run."

Smith said he and fellow riders would be voicing their concerns in the safety commission, and pushing for race direction to approach race day with extra care.

“I don't know what's going to happen. In free practice, it's not so bad, but come race day I think we will speak to the guys at the safety commission and really tell race direction to be mindful of it.

“We can throw a hand up, not to stop it but at least to advise race direction, and I think that's going to have to be something that we seriously consider, if it's going to be this amount of rainfall.”

Additional reporting by William Zinck and Matteo Nugnes

Danilo Petrucci, Pramac Racing

Danilo Petrucci, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images

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