Stoner hits out at lack of gravel traps at MotoGP circuits


Two-time MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner has hit out at the lack of gravel traps at circuits, revealing riders in the safety commission prefer asphalt run-off areas instead. 

Stoner believes MotoGP circuits are not safe without gravel, pinpointing the Red Bull Ring in Austria - host of the 10th race of the season in August - as a disaster waiting to happen. 

Moto2 rider Luis Salom died last month after crashing in Barcelona, smashing into the air fence at high speed after losing control of his bike heading into turn 12, which has a run-off area rather than gravel. 

Stoner says changes must be made before another rider loses their life. 

"It's something quite close to my heart because I have been pushing and fighting against all this run-off on all the circuits for many, many years," the 30-year-old said. 

"Unfortunately some riders prefer it because I know they feel they can push harder on a corner and they feel if they make a mistake they run on and go through or come straight directly back onto the track, it's a convenience, but it's not safe. 

"Especially now with all the car racing, I think we'll lose all the gravel traps on all the run-offs. This is not good for motorcycles. 

"I've known this for years. Imagine if you crash in the wet, you would be crashing on the tarmac, you don't stop and if we don't have gravel to stop us, then there's only one thing that can happen. 

"Normally the bike will arrive at the air fence and then the rider will come underneath, so either that or the rider will go over the air fence. 

"This is something I have been fighting for for many years, but there was too many riders in the safety commission that preferred this and, like I said, it's because they like to brake very, very late, and if they make a mistake it's a small mistake, if you go off the track you come immediately back on and there's no real disadvantage."

The Australian added: "Looking at Austria and what I saw on television, I am concerned with the safety of that track. 

"You see all the run-off areas painted so can you imagine crashing in the wet, touching the paint, you're not going to slow down before hitting the wall and this is something they need to pay attention to.

"People forget how difficult human life is, and all they want to see is racing so they want to see people pushing, make mistakes, they go off and come back on, but when someone makes that critical mistake, maybe it's the last one they do.

"I think people need to pay attention to the safety aspect rather than the convenience."