A number of MotoGP riders have hit out at the changes brought in for this year’s Catalan Grand Prix at the Barcelona circuit, after first getting the chances to try out the new layout during a three-day test at the track that kicked off today.
The new changes effectively neuter the fast turns ten and thirteen, instead replacing them with much tighter chicanes that were first added to the track in order to make the track slower and safer for Formula One.
The modification to turn thirteen was first used by MotoGP last year following the high-speed crash at the penultimate corner that tragically saw the death of Luis Salom during the first day of practice for the Moto2 class at last year’s event.
Speaking when the changes were first made after Salom’s tragic crash twelve months ago, FIM safety officer Franco Uncini said the changes were made in the name of safety.
“The layout was tested two years ago but judged as not an exciting layout with not many overtaking places. But after what happened, the riders decided that they layout is safer, and we’re working to adapt it to make it even safer for bikes now.”
"The entry to turn 10 here is high-speed and there is no way of extending the run-off area because there is no room at the circuit to do that. One of the alternatives proposed was to use the F1 car layout, which has a tighter turn 10 and braking earlier on the straight – therefore it is slower. So it was suggested that we try that layout to see if it works for bikes, to improve safety.”
However, many riders argued that the changes were made to not have to spend money to modify the track - or to replace F1-friendly asphalt runoff areas with the more traditional gravel traps.
And, after getting the chance try out the new circuit for the first time at today’s test, Loris Baz was the first to quick to take to Twitter and make his feelings on the modifications clear to MCN.