The remainder of this weekend’s action at Montmelò will see the circuit revert from the usual MotoGP layout to that traditionally used by Formula One, in the wake of the tragic incident that cost Luis Salom his life yesterday.
The new layout modifies both turn 12, the scene of Salom’s crash, and turn ten, adding chicanes to both corners in an attempt to reduce speed.
The moves were brought in following a Safety Commission meeting held last night, where a number of riders pushed for the changes to be made, according to FIM Safety Officer Franco Uncini.
“We spoke with the team and the Salom family and they gave to us the decision to keep going or not. In the safety commission, we spoke with the riders and decided to honour Salom by continuing with the Grand Prix.
“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 more safe, and we’re working to adapt it to make it even safer for bikes now.”
The new layout was introduced in 2004 to create more overtaking opportunities for F1, and was tested back in 2014 during a MotoGP test at the Catalan track. But, speaking at the time, MotoGP race director Mike Webb said that opinion was split on the modifications.
"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.
"The initial impressions, just talking to riders who have come straight off the bikes, is more or less 50/50 split. They all agree that the larger run-off area is definitely safer. There are one or two comments that, with the nature of the corner, there could be more incidents of riders touching each other. So, there are plusses and minuses and it is more or less 50/50 split at the moment.”