15 Jun, 2017
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MotoGP: Smith hits out at Circuit of Barcelona: Hopefully we won’t come back

Bradley Smith expresses hope that MotoGP won’t return to the Circuit of Catalunya in ’18; “This is the only track not reacting to rider/organiser requests.”

MotoGP: Smith hits out at Circuit of Barcelona: Hopefully we won’t come back
MotoGP: Smith hits out at Circuit of Barcelona: Hopefully we won’t come back
Bradley Smith reserved strong words for the Circuit of Catalunya during the seventh round of the 2017 season, stating it is the only venue on the current MotoGP calendar that is not responding to rider or organiser requests.

The circuit was under the microscope last weekend, as riders were highly critical of the aged, greasy track surface- last resurfaced well over ten years ago -, which offered up next to no grip and left several leading names baffled.

Then there was the issue with the revised final sector; so slow and hokey was the redesigned final chicane, the Safety Commission, which met on Friday evening, decided to revert to the F1 layout, used by the Grand Prix classes in 2016, for the qualifying and race days.

Several riders opined the circuit was now not at the required to level to host a MotoGP race, with Smith perhaps the most forthright. Speaking on Friday, the KTM rider that missed the race due to injuring a little finger in a nasty FP4 spill felt Friday's layout, with the tighter chicane was the safest option available.

“It's safer than what we had during the race last year, but it's not the perfect solution. But until the circuit do the grandstands, cut some trees down, do some landfill, what can you do,” he asked.

“Hopefully we won't come [back]. That's finally what it comes down to. This is the only track on the calendar that's not actually reacting to Safety Commission/rider/organiser's requests.

“So at some point, you have to give them an ultimatum, and I think that this is the last year that they'll be in that situation. We have enough people that want us to go race there, we don't have to come here. New tarmac is something we've been asking for a couple of years.”

It is believed the Circuit of Catalunya will be resurfaced some time in the near future. Meanwhile, Joan Fontserè, director of the Circuit of Catalunya, responded to some of the criticisms aimed at the track.

In an interview with Spanish sports daily AS, Fontserè was critical of series organiser Dorna and the FIM for not making the private test at the Montmeló venue compulsory for all teams and riders to attend.

“We carried out the project that was requested and then you get to Friday and they asked us to change back. You wonder what you have done. We've been working a year just to finish in the same place,” he said.

“I'm surprised that 15 days before there were some tests and all of them [teams and riders] did not come, when the circuit has been changed, and no one was there to supervise,” he told AS.

It was widely perceived that the circuit was unable to retain the original layout and move back the trackside barriers because of the required costs to do so.

However, Fontserè insisted, “it's not an issue of money, but of execution when complying with safety measures. We've done what the FIM and Dorna asked us to do on the basis of what was agreed in the Safety Commission.”

By Neil Morrison

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  • mrfill 15 Jun, 2017 16:09:00
    The ripples in the track, which were unsettling the bikes on corner entry, are not there by design. It is the F1 cars literally moving the surface of the track causing these ripples. A similar thing happened on a road nearby on a slight downhill with corner where the surface had rucked up creating lumps across the road about an inch high. On a bike going over 50, you got a big thump and the bike wobbled. Hitting a similar lump on a race track at 150+ with rock hard suspension is simply dangerous.

    motogp needs to get rid of a couple of current tracks to fit the new ones in and this has just risen to number 1 on the hit list. Good.
  • Jem 15 Jun, 2017 15:52:27
    Bradly is much (so much) more qualified than myself and others, to comment and judge on what tracks should and should not be used for racing so we have to respect his view. However, I would like to suggest that there is a view that not all track surfaces should always be the same so that the skills of the different riders are put to a more varied test.
    In the case of Barcelona, if the track surface had been up to scratch then possibly Dovitsioso would not have won and the championship battle would (possibly) be now porer for it.
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