MotoGP: Stoner voices Red Bull Ring safety concerns

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While he might have enjoyed a successful test at the Red Bull Ring, Casey Stoner has been one of a number of racers to hit out at the safety aspects of the new circuit, saying that he believes that some of the track’s features serve to make it more dangerous rather than safer.

Refurbished with Formula One in mind rather than MotoGP, renovations to the track have saw many gravel traps now replaced with asphalt run-off areas, something that has been brought sharply into the public eye following the tragic death of Luis Salom earlier this season at Catalunya, after crashing on a similar surface.

“I’m worried about the run-offs. Some of them are even painted on. Imagine what will happen if it rains: a rider who crashes will not slow down, just the opposite. They have to focus more on safety because people’s lives are fragile and you can’t always put performance first, with run-off areas that won’t slow the riders.”

“The asphalt run-offs are dangerous, as Luis Salom’s accident at Montmelò showed. To those who say that it’s actually a safety measure I say no, it only benefits those who want to brake as late as possible and then go wide. It is only aimed at pleasing them, it has nothing to do with safety.”

Stoner also took to Twitter over the test to further share his opinion of the circuit, posting a scathing tweet not about the type of run-off but the amount, something that has also drawn consternation from a number of other MotoGP racers since last month’s F1 race at the track.

“Not a lot of runoff if you crash at an estimated 340+km especially if it's wet... but hey, that's just my opinion.”

The double world champion, who finished the two days testing in third, was also less than complimentary about the modified layout of the test, despite admitting that the location was fantastic.

“You can’t get a much more picturesque circuit than this, and it’s something very special. The circuit has some nice parts but it’s a bit strange for bikes because some of the corners don’t flow well together, which makes it somewhat difficult.”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer