MotoAmerica bike combusts during interview

The Yamaha R1 of Mathew Scholtz was the backdrop for an interview but ended up catching fire right in front of the cameras!


ASIDE from crashing out of a race, a fire in the pit box is one of a race team's biggest fears. We see it from time to time, and thankfully in most cases, things are brought under control fairly quickly.

Rarely though do we get to see such dramatic footage of these explosions, and even more rarely from such close proximity. The incident took place while the rider of the bike, Mathew Scholtz, was being spoken to by MotoAmerica as part of a pre-season interview.

It seems as though the interview is just getting underway, and the bike serves as a background for the video. You can just make out mechanics working on the bike as it sits quietly on it paddock stands, seemingly between or after the day's sessions had been completed.

Around 17 seconds into the clip though, things quickly go wrong, as a fireball of flames erupts from behind the fairing of the bike, prompting Scholtz and the interviewer to dive from the pit garage to safety. Calls for a fire extinguisher are quickly responded to, and after a few more seconds the bike is getting a significant dusting by the team and the fire is thankfully brought under control.

Speaking about the incident, a spokesperson from the team confirmed they had a “battery problem” that caused the fire. Many race teams use lithium-ion batteries, which are lighter, and more powerful than conventional lead-acid items. They can be volatile though, and as shown in this clip, when things go wrong, the consequences can be devastating. The spokesperson for the team goes on to thank MotoAmerica for being, and also the crew for attacking the fire.

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