Donington Park set for MotoGP safety inspection

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A delegation of MotoGP management will visit Donington Park tomorrow (Wednesday) to check on potential modifications that the Leicestershire venue may have to implement ahead of next year’s British Grand Prix.

MotoGP will be back at Donington Park in 2015 after it was chosen to host the race by the Circuit of Wales, which currently holds the exclusive promotional rights for the British Grand Prix, even though the £315m track doesn’t currently exist.

Donington Park hasn’t hosted the British Grand Prix since 2009 when it lost the contract to Silverstone, and while it is FIM homologated for World Superbikes, circuit improvements will need to be carried ahead of next year’s race.

Dorna’s Javier Alonso and safety delegate Franco Uncini, who are both part of Race Direction and the Safety Commission in MotoGP, will make a site visit to Donington Park tomorrow afternoon.

It is understood the circuit will need to undergo a complete resurface for 2015.
After securing a one-year deal to host next year’s British Grand Prix, Donington boss Christopher Tate confirmed the venue will be closed for a period in the winter to undertake the necessary improvements.

British rider Cal Crutchlow confirmed when asked by MCN in Misano last weekend about the Donington deal that a resurface had been talked about and he said: “We will look in the Safety Commission to see where the problems are but I don’t believe there are that many areas that need changing. Everyone has talked about it needing a resurface and sure that looks like it has to happen but other than that I can’t see too many problems. The riders in MotoGP now have raced there before on more powerful bikes and there was no problem then.”

Crutchlow believes the return of the British Grand Prix to Donington Park will be more of a headache for tyre supplier Bridgestone than anybody else.

The factory Ducati rider added: “We need to discuss about the safety of the tyre. I am already scared to go out and go down Craner Curves if it is cold. It will be fine after two or three laps once you get heat in the tyre but if you don’t it is going to be difficult. It is hard to make a tyre for that track. After Craner Curves you’ve got really long left-handers that are all on gas and you will destroy the tyre. It will be whoever has got the biggest balls and who can get the heat into the tyre.

In a recent interview about the potential modifications Donington Park might need to make, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Bradley Smith told MCN: “From what I remember from (Jorge) Lorenzo’s crash into the last corner at Goddards, his bike made it all the way to the wall and he wasn’t far away. I think the Old Hairpin is OK but the next left at Starkey’s Bridge, the wall on the outside is very close and even Schwantz Curve will need looking at. And the Esses have been modified now to have a lot more speed than we’ve seen in the past and that wall on the outside is pretty close. Obviously Donington are willing to make the appropriate changes otherwise we wouldn’t be going.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt