2021 MotoGP championship leader Fabio Quartararo says the track surface at the Circuit of the Americas is “a joke” and “unsafe”, as several riders including pole sitter Francesco Bagnaia voiced safety concerns after Friday and Saturday practice sessions in Austin.
The track near Austin was slammed by most MotoGP riders following Friday’s practices as a result of poor surface riddled with vicious bumps. The situation was even worse when there was a little downfall in the first practice session(FP1).
Factory Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo claimed the circuit was a “joke”, while Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro went as far as to say he doesn’t think it’s safe to race on it on Sunday.
“It’s more or less a track I use to train with a motocross bike, but much faster and with a MotoGP bike,” he said. “So, it’s really bad. I can’t imagine it, we said three years ago they need to resurface and it’s even worse.
“It’s just acceptable to race, I don’t know what to say. But it’s a joke.”
“It’s not a MotoGP track for me. To make a race here – for one lap it’s OK – but for 20 laps, we will see that there will be some bad moments.”
“You see a lot of bikes shaking in Turn 10. The thing is the bumps are in the worst places possible, because if you have bumps in Turns 1, 11, 12, it’s OK because it’s slow corners.”
“But Turn 1, Turn 2, 3, 10 are the worst corners you can have bumps, and there are bumps there. So, let’s see.”
“I usually don’t go to the safety commission, but when there is something serious, I will go and today something serious that for the safety is… the track is unsafe. It’s clear to say that it’s not great and we need to resurface everything.”
Ducati’s Bagnaia, who is fighting for the championship and currently sits 48 points behind leader Quartararo, believes that the track is currently “over the limit” with regards to safety.
The Ducati rider was asked if any lessons could be learned from what happened at Silverstone in 2018, when a badly-resurfaced track could not drain water properly forcing the race to be cancelled, he said the current situation with COTA is worse.
When asked if cancelling Sunday’s race was an option, he said, “No, will not be possible, I think. We are here, we have to race. I don’t know, we will speak in the safety commission.
“I’m sure that some riders will have the opinion to don’t race, but obviously someone will say it’s raceable and we have to race. So, it’s strange because we are playing to be always [at] the top and [around] this track you can’t go on the limit, because every lap you are over the limit.
“And I think it’s over the limit about safety. So, we will speak after and we will take a decision. [It’s] a lot worse than Silverstone, I think.”