Our correspondent for SBK adds some considerations on the Sprint Race. The two formats are approaching, says Baldi, and the MotoGP riders must have time to adjust: the SBK riders did it without problems. And Portimao is not that dangerous
March 29, 2023
Carlo Baldi writes:
“I go to portimao since 2008, when it was inaugurated by the Superbike e I don’t think it’s a dangerous track. If we exclude the accident that killed Victor Steeman last year (run over after the fall) there have never been serious accidents. In 2021 both Rea and Razgatlioglu crashed at high speed (in the same corner, but in different races) and the wide escape route saved them. Nobody in SBK has ever complained about the gravel. Certainly the derivative riders are about two seconds per lap slower than their MotoGP colleagues on this track, but the gravel is the same for everyone. Given what the GP riders have found, I hope it will be replaced anyway.
But the question I ask myself is another. Since in the GP there is a Commission that deals with safety, there are two cases: either no changes had ever been requested (air fence) or the requests were not answered. In both cases the question is: why?
Finally, a thought on the sprint race. I believe that even the GP riders, as has already happened in SBK, must adapt to a race that is so different from the others. Soon they’ll consider that the points are half the points and that it’s not worth risking a fall anyway. They will always be more spectacular races than the others, but not as “gritty” as the first in Portimao. However, of the riders injured this weekend in Portugal, only one was the victim of an accident in the sprint race, the others in practice or in the long race. Good job, Carl”
We share almost everything, but…
I agree with almost everything that Carlo Baldi suggests, starting with the pilot commission: I have the same perplexities and I’m not calm. On the format I say that, without wanting to belittle the SBK that I always follow, it should however be added that the two formats are not superimposable. Aside from the sprint race (on which, as Carlo says, the riders still have to adjust), it is important to underline that the MotoGP bikes need more time to find the ideal setting. As prototypes, they want finer tuning and the reduction of testing sessions becomes a problem also in terms of safety.
Portimao dangerous track or safe enough? I limit myself to saying that there are some problems, as demonstrated by the serious accident involving Pol Espargaro. The MotoGP bikes, as everyone knows, have deeper braking points and higher cornering speed: logically they need larger run-off areas.
It should also be noted that the safety standards to which MotoGP riders are used are more advanced than those of SBK. It’s unfair, of course, but instead of concluding (as many do) that the prototype riders are “spoiled”, it would be better to demand respect for everyone from the FIM.
Leave a Reply