Red Bull Ring changes layout for 2022 MotoGP event after rider comments

Valentino Rossi - Yamaha MotoGP, Franco Morbidelli

MotoGP officials have announced the Red Bull Ring layout will be modified ahead of the 2022 Austrian MotoGP event amid growing calls to improve safety between Turns 2 and 3.

The venue, owned by energy drinks company Red Bull and located in Austria’s verdant Styrian mountains, returned to the MotoGP schedule in 2016 and is renowned for its high-speed, compact layout, as well as being hard on the brakes.

However, the circuit has come in for increasing criticism from MotoGP riders, who feel the layout lends itself to too many safety issues in the event of a crash.

Of particular concern is the stretch between Turns 2 and 3, a kinking left-hander taken flat and the uphill heavy braking tight apex right-hander, which has seen the majority of controversial incidents over time.

Most notably in 2020, Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales were both extraordinarily lucky to avoid injury after almost being collected by the catapulting Ducati and Yamaha machines of Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli, who had collided further back and crossed into the path of T3.

As such, a right-left kink will be added at T2 - where the track branches left and makes a steep uphill climb into the hard braking zone of T3 - in order to break up the full throttle, full load  stretch and eliminate the erstwhile chances to crash at high-speed around T2, which could cause issues for riders up ahead at T3.

It is likely to be known as a motorcycle layout foremost, with F1 - which famously experienced a similar accident as Rossi/Vinales back in 2002 - expected to retain the current faster configuration.