By Oriol Puigdemont
The big disaster which befell the Silverstone circuit at last weekend’s Moto GP event must be made an example of in order to avoid a similar situation in the future. That’s the view of many in both Moto GP and F1 as the post mortem begins.
A bumpy Silverstone track surface played havoc with the MotoGP teams, riders and organisers before the race was cancelled altogether to to unsafe conditions with standing water. Organisers of the recent WEC and F1 events there were fortunate.
The majority of us will agree that the postponement of the Grand Prix of Qatar in 2009 due to rain conditions in the desert was reasonable considering the unusual circumstances that Sunday at Losail. However, the fact that Silverstone blamed the rain as the first on the big list of problems that forced the cancellation of the British Grand Prix, seems to be a bad joke.
Tito Rabat got the worst of it, as he needs to remain a few more days at the University Hospital of Coventry after being brutally run over by Franco Morbidelli’s Honda on Saturday at midday; though in truth, everyone in the Championship lost out.
First, it is clear that the resurfacing works done at the beginning of the year weren’t sufficient. This is something F1 drivers complained about some months ago; Lewis Hamilton even publicly supported his MotoGP colleagues, specifically because of the numerous bumps, which the resurfacing did little to fix.
“The people they hired did the worst job ever,” said Hamilton at the time of the British Grand Prix. “It’s the bumpiest track I’ve ever experienced.
“It’s bumpier than the Nordschleife, which is 100 years old. It’s rattling your freaking eyeballs out of your brain.
“Apart from that it’s fantastic but jeez, they need to hire someone better. I don’t know how you could do such a bad job in layering the track.”
Carlos Sainz added when asked if improvements had been made to the circuit: “I just feel sorry for the MotoGP guys who asked for this change and are probably not going to get what they wanted.”
When MotoGP action commenced at the weekend, Marc Marquez – not a rider who normally complains – confirmed the fears by saying after first free practice: “If the people who resurfaced the track got some money after, they have to think about it.”
A track engineer of an important Moto2 team admitted: “After checking the data of the first session, I thought that the suspension device had been damaged. The effect of the bumps was tremendous. In fact, I even compared the data with teammate’s bike to check if everything was right.”
The company in charge of resurfacing the track was Aggregate Industries, which at this moment hasn’t said anything about the work in the light of recent events. Despite refunding fans and again promising to resurface the track again in a proper way, the facts speak for themselves. And the clearest evidence is that someone should have anticipated that in England, having rain forecast is an obvious possibility – at any track, but obviously at Silverstone, where there have been wet races held since the circuit opened.
Up until this point, listening to some of the most instinctive riders is a good exercise and in that sense Andrea Dovizioso is a clever man. “The problem is that there isn’t a championship commission in charge of checking how the works are done. The promoter, in that case the circuit, hired a company and each one of them has its own standard. But it is obvious that, if none of those two parts could predict the rain effects, someone else should have done it,” concluded the Ducati rider, in one of the more rational statements from such a crazy weekend.
By: Oriol Puigdemont
All images: Motorsport Images