Author: Bike Social Sports Reporter Posted: 15 May 2014
Loris Baz has criticised safety standards at Imola after the fourth round of the 2014 Superbike World Championship was held at the circuit last weekend.
The Factory Kawasaki rider has said that while Imola is an ‘amazing’ track, there are some corners where there is too little or even no run off for when riders crash. Imola is notorious in both two and four wheeled racing for its poor safety record: Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna was infamously killed at the circuit as he lost control of his car during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, driving head on into a wall just a day after the death of another driver, Roland Ratzenberger, who hit one of the circuit’s walls at 195mph.
Baz’ comments, which were posted on social media, come after British youngster Harry Stafford had a huge crash in a practice session for the European Superstock 600 session suffering facial injuries and a broken arm.
The Frenchman also references the rider he replaced in the factory Kawasaki team, Joan Lascorz, who crashed into an unprotected concrete wall at 130mph during a test at the Italian circuit two years ago. Lascorz’ injuries ended his racing career, leaving him paralysed and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
When the extent of his injuries was announced, Lascorz himself questioned whether conditions at Imola are suitable for 240bhp motorcycles and now Baz has spoken out to criticise safety standards at the circuit.
“I love crazy tracks where you need big balls but I don’t when I crash straight into a wall!” Baz expressed. “That is not acceptable. Imola is an amazing track but some corners just have no space if you crash.
“Joan Lascorz left his legs [ed: lost use of his legs] in a corner of this track and there has been no change since. There is no air fence, just a wall."
Sharing this picture of Stafford following his crash, Baz continued: “Harry Stafford had a big crash this week and he has been lucky. This is not acceptable; you cannot risk your life more than we already do. This must change!”
Baz also mentioned a crash he had at the circuit last year [below], where he fell from his Kawasaki ZX10R at 170mph before sliding into a barricade of straw bales. “I had a 280km/h crash last year and when I stopped into straw I felt I was riding in the 80’s!”
Following safety concerns raised within the Superbike World Championship last year, a riders’ safety commission now meets with race direction on the Friday evening of each event. While Baz acknowledges this is a start, he still says it’s “not enough”.
Further tweets go on to suggest Baz isn’t arguing for Imola to be removed from the calendar, but a more effective use of air fencing.
What do you think? Is Imola too dangerous? To leave a comment: or