Author: Oli Rushby Pics: Bonnie Lane Posted: 29 May 2015
Mugello is famed for having one of the fastest straights on the MotoGP calendar. With bikes now pushing almost 220mph on the main straight, a number of safety concerns have arisen at the riders’ safety commission.
Hector Barbera was the fastest man through the speed trap today recording a phenomenal 350.1kph (217.5mph), but quickest man on the timesheets, Andrea Dovizioso has said such high speeds have given rise to several safety concerns among riders.
One of the biggest concerns comes not from the speed directly, but a crest in the straight as it kinks left after the pit-lane exit. Dovizioso claims the bikes are almost leaving the ground as they hit this, which is naturally a cause for concern.
“Today we did 350kph. It is quite enough!” Dovizioso said speaking to reporters after practice. “Already in the safety commission we spoke about that but it is not easy to take that decision to limit the speed.
“The reality is especially how turn one is, before braking, 350kph becomes on the limit because we jump a little bit [over the crest]. It is really on the limit so we need to speak about that but you can understand it is not easy to put a limit on the bike and speed.”
Limiting the speed of a Grand Prix motorcycle seems counter productive, but riders are also against any change to the iconic Mugello circuit.
“This would be bad”, said Dovizioso responding to a question about whether flattening the straiht would help. “It is one of the best tracks in the world, so I hope not.”
On top of the concerns about getting airbourne, another problem with high speed comes being able to stop in the time, even if overshooting the corner. After Marc Marquez’ 200mph crash here in 2013, areas of artificial grass have been removed all the way down into the first turn to allow riders more opportunity to brake should anything go wrong.
The Safety Commission, which exists to iron out any concerns the riders’ have (such as these about top speed), meets on the Friday evening of every round. Whether a solution will be found remains to be seen.
What do you think? Should there be a top speed limit, or should circuits be adapted to the ever evolving bikes?