Espargaro ‘Never ridden track like this, super dangerous’

Aleix Espargaro expresses serious concerns regarding the Circuit of the Americas’ track surface; says he broke both steering locks in FP1 due to bumps.
Espargaro ‘Never ridden track like this, super dangerous’

Aleix Espargaro has expressed severe concerns regarding the safety of the Circuit of the Americas, stating he has “never ridden a track like this” after encountering severe bumps around the 3.4-mile layout.

While certain riders, like Andrea Dovizioso, felt labelling the track surface ‘dangerous’ was a step too far, the elder Espargaro brother didn’t mince his words, saying the Texan venue “is not at the level of MotoGP.”

Espargaro also revealed his steering lock broke twice on the back straight in FP1 due to the severity of the bumps, which sent his Aprilia RS-GP from side to side. Riding in a group in such conditions didn’t bear thinking about, he said.



“[It’s] Super dangerous,” he said. “I’ve never ridden a track like this. It’s not at the level of MotoGP. Not at all. I don’t think we can race here one more year with these conditions. Absolutely no way.

“It’s super bumpy in many corners. Most of them, you can handle it. Corner two is a disaster but if you go lost the front there, you are at 120, 130mph. But in the straight in sixth gear it’s super difficult to maintain the throttle open.

“It’s very dangerous and we are one-by-one. I don’t want to think about what’s going to happen in the race. It’s super dangerous. For me this track is not at the level of MotoGP.

“The bumps are the worst. The grip is not that bad. We ride in circuits with a lot less grip. We have to adapt. This is not an excuse, not a problem. We have to adapt to the grip level of every track, of every condition.

“But the bumps? Come on. This is not motocross. This is too much.”

Asked whether it was wheelspin that was causing him headaches on the back straight, he explained, “It’s not the wheelspin. I broke both of the steering locks. I broke completely both the limits on the right and the left. The bike is shaking like crazy at more than 300kph. If somebody makes a mistake and crashes there…

“It’s difficult to know what other riders will think about it. For sure there will be one or two riders that will say it’s perfect. And the other 20 riders will say there is no way to race here. I’m completely sure.

“This place is fantastic, but they need new asphalt. If some corners are bumpy, you manage. But the straight like this, at more than 300kph, it’s a matter of safety.”

Aside from the state of the track, Espargaro felt his 16th fastest time in FP2 did not reflect his potential. As has become commonplace in recent years, his Aprilia RS-GP was not able to utilise the extra grip available with a new tyre.

“Overall I feel good, sincerely. This track is the worst for my riding style. It’s one track where I always struggle. I rode well all day. I have good pace to fight for the top ten in the race. As we know one single lap is not our best thing. I gave my best.

“I feel like I’m riding better than ever in my life. I’m aggressive. But I’m completely at the limit. It’s impossible to go faster with this bike that I have. This is the maximum possible. It’s 1.0s from the leader, but there is no way to go faster. There’s not more that I can do.

“Every time we put new rear tyre we cannot use the grip. This is something that [Alvaro] Bautista had when he was on the Aprilia. Race pace we are strong but on Saturday when we put the new tyre, we are not loading the rear enough, and we are not using the extra grip of the tyre.

“The lack of grip is huge. We have this since the beginning of the year with the new tyre. With used tyres I was P6, P7. When everyone puts the new tyre, no way.”