The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team will still compete in this weekend’s Grand Prix of the Americas but their preparations have suffered a setback after their garage caught fire at COTA. The incident was triggered by one of the starters for the Yamaha YZR-M1s although Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith’s motorcycles were undamaged in the fire.
Team Manager Herve Poncharal admits the squad will go into the weekend on their back foot but has praised the Circuit of the Americas for the procedures in place for such an event.
“Unfortunately there was a small incident inside the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 garage overnight. The process of starting a MotoGP machine requires an electric starter and overnight they are left on charge. This is standard procedure and something we have been doing ever since the introduction of the four-stroke era. Unfortunately in the night one of the batteries caught fire. We have suffered quite a lot of damage and of course it is not ideal preparations but thankfully the fire prevention measures undertaken by the Circuit of the Americas and the assistance of the local Fire Department were invaluable in limiting the damage. The sprinkler system was immediately activated and fire crews on scene promptly and I am grateful for that.”
“We will be conducting a thorough investigation to find out why this issue occurred and take the necessary steps to ensure it is not repeated in the future. I would like to apologise to the Yamaha Factory Team, LCR Honda and Cardion AB too, as the sprinkler system was also activated inside their pit area as well. But it could have been much worse and with the fantastic support of Yamaha and others in the close-knit MotoGP community, I am confident we can participate in this weekend’s race without any additional problems.”
Yamaha Factory Racing’s director Massimo Meregalli agreed that the damage could have been much more severe although there is work to be done before the bikes are ready for first practice tomorrow.
“The first impression we had when we arrived was really bad but fortunately it doesn’t look as bad as we initially thought. We will now have to disassemble the bikes and dry them, clean them and rebuild them again. For sure it could have been a lot worse. We have to say a big thank you to the circuit staff who are putting in a lot of effort to be of help.”