The Circuit de Catalunya layout will be changed overnight for the second year in succession after riders voiced concerns with the turn 14/15 chicane on Friday. The MotoGP-specific chicane has been abandoned for the rest of the weekend and the Formula 1 layout will be used instead from Saturday onwards.
The track was altered initially in 2016 following the tragic death of Luis Salom in Moto2 free practice but twelve months on, a revised chicane had been installed ahead of the Formula 1 route. The corner saw a number of crashes on Friday though with Alvaro Bautista and Loris Baz both losing the front end of their Ducatis.
Loris Capirossi, who works on behalf of the FIM Safety Commission, outlined the issues with the chicane and the reasoning for the switch.
“In the Safety Commission the riders complained a little about the new layout, they said the work wasn’t done in the right way and there were a lot of bumps – that’s why the riders decided to go back to the layout from last year. That’s why we’re here, to make sure the track used tomorrow is the safest we can. We saw during practice today a lot of crashes too where the bike remained on the track and at the exit of the corner, and that’s very dangerous. We have experience from last year of the old chicane and we didn’t have any crashes like we did today, that’s why the riders requested it. In terms of crashes, the old one is better.”
Due to a change in circuit layout, none of Friday’s lap times will count towards qualifying, meaning Saturday’s FP3 will be the only session that determines the automatic qualifiers for Q2.