back in May there was a motorcycle race at Monza. The WSBK series attempted to hold their 4th round race there and it was cut short due to, presumably, the weather. It was such a debacle that the series was forced to make an official announcement and offer free paddock passes to soften the blow. It’s now come to light that one rider, Marco Melandri, says that isn’t the case. In fact, he says it was ‘bubbles’ in the asphalt that caused him to crash and it has now been suggested that the circuit owners knew about the issue prior to the race. Melandri told Omnicourse.it:
“I was on the racing line at the turn and I had just starting re-opening the throttle, when I realised that the bike was sliding more than normal, but it was already too late to control it. I repeat, in front of me I had a clean line and no patches. I think that the relationship between the presence of the bubbles and the crashes can’t and should not be ruled out.”
The issue is beginning to heat up in the Italian press. In fact, it’s become a big of a scandal with wiretaps and more.
While Gazetta dello Sport covers the issue in impeccable Italian, I’ll try to unpack the issue for you. It seem the circuit director, Enrico Ferrari, said he didn’t say anything prior to the race because he didn’t want to raise false alarms and suggested that it hasn’t been proven that the track condition causes crashes. Sure, seems logical right? Wait…bubbles in asphalt hasn’t been proven to cause crashes? I know the contact patches on a Formula One call are contextually small but there are four of them and a motorcycle only has two and they are smaller yet. Surely this would have an impact, no?
The Formula One circus is slated to race at Monza, the Italian Grand Prix, in September and the case could be made that these circuit anomalies would be a real issue for F1 cars as well. I don’t know how they do things over in WSBK but FIA director Charlie Whiting isn’t going to let something like this go by. It’s not like this is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2005 or anything.