12 crashes! Why were there so many crashes during MotoGP training at the Sachsenring?

After a true horror series last year, MotoGP managed to go a surprisingly long time in the 2024 season without any major crashes or injuries. It was only at the Dutch TT last week that the first riders, Alex Rins, Aleix Espargaro and wildcard rider Lorenzo Savadori, were injured. While Rins did not even travel to the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring, Espargaro had to withdraw after just three laps in FP1. The fact that the MotoGP field did not thin out even further on Friday was probably only down to a lot of luck.

The numerous German fans in the stands at the Sachsenring saw a total of 12 crashes during the two training sessions on Friday – a new record for a single day this season. While Marc Marquez and Pedro Acosta got off relatively lightly in FP1, the crashes in the afternoon training session ended much more painfully for many riders. Marco Bezzecchi started in the notorious waterfall corner Turn 11, followed just a few moments later by another Marquez crash. While Bezzecchi still completed the session, Marquez pulled the plug early after a short outing and went to the medical center for checks. There he discovered a fracture of his left index finger and a severe bruise in the chest area.

Is Lewis Hamilton buying the Gresini MotoGP team? This is what he says! (07:22 min.)

Fabio Di Giannantonio causes red flag: VR46 driver remains uninjured

This was followed by a heavy crash by Fabio Di Giannantonio in turn 1. The Italian immediately held his right upper arm, which led to fears of a shoulder injury. However, the all-clear was given after a short time and Di Giannantonio was even able to get back into the race himself after the red flag phase that followed his crash to replace the damaged air fence. Shortly after the restart, Takaaki Nakagami, Joan Mir and Pedro Acosta also crashed in turn 1, as did Augusto Fernandez in turn 3. In the final phase, Enea Bastianini was also hit in turn 11, as well as Remy Gardner and Johann Zarco in turn 13.

The latter two were an exception, as they were the only victims of a left-hand bend. All of the other ten crashes happened in the right-hand bends that are feared at the Sachsenring. Why is that? It’s simple: the iconic German track consists of only three right-hand bends and ten left-hand bends, and between T3 and T11 it even goes to the left seven times in a row. This causes the right side of the tire to cool down and makes it difficult to keep it in the working window in the few right-hand bends T1, T3 and T11. But that’s a well-known problem. Why was it so much worse in 2024?

Pedro Acosta crashes during training at the Sachsenring
Pedro Acosta crashed in the right-hand corner Turn 1, Photo: Tobias Linke

Low temperatures at the Sachsenring cause problems for MotoGP stars

There are probably two aspects that are decisive for this. Firstly, there are this year’s weather conditions at the Sachsenring, which were far from the sunshine of previous years. A heavily overcast sky meant that temperatures during the MotoGP sessions were around 20 degrees in the air and only 26 degrees on the asphalt. “I braked a little harder than on the previous lap. I haven’t been able to look at the data yet, but it definitely looks like the tire was a little too cold for that,” reported Di Giannatonio in his media round.

“It is very difficult to get the tyres warm in these conditions,” agrees Francesco Bagnaia agrees and adds: “The wind didn’t help either.” Heavy gusts of wind from the northeast had blown over the Sachsenring all day. This caused additional problems for the drivers. “The soft is too soft for longer runs. In the sprint and race you have to use the medium or even the hard. But that’s dangerous in these temperatures,” reports Augusto Fernandez.

MotoGP riders realise: Michelin rear tyre offers too much grip

The second aspect is something that MotoGP fans probably wouldn’t have expected: the new rear tire from the same manufacturer, Michelin. “I have the feeling that the rear grip is very high with the new tires. This pushes the front forward. It was already critical before, but now it’s become even more extreme,” explained Bagnaia on Friday evening when asked about the numerous crashes in Turn 1. “You brake very hard there. Then there are these moments when the rear lifts off the ground due to the hilly course of the track. As soon as it comes down again, you have to brake even harder. This can then cause the front to lock.”

A phenomenon that caused Marco Bezzecchi to crash on Friday. “I don’t just feel it in Turn 11, I feel it on every track in every corner. For me, the new rear tire has too much grip. I destroy the front in every session because of it. As soon as I turn, I lose the front,” announced the VR6 driver in his media round.

While Michelin recently received a lot of praise for its new tire compound, things seem to be slowly turning again. The French continue to be the focus of criticism for another reason. All information on this can be found here:

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *