News 14 Oct 2019

FIM issues statement over Argentina WorldSBK safety concerns

Federation addresses mass-rider withdrawal from race one.

Image: Supplied.

The FIM has issued a statement after six riders withdrew from race one at Argentina’s penultimate round of the 2019 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) over safety concerns with track conditions.

Before the opening encounter, there was division between riders racing due to the dusty track conditions and subsequent lack of grip.

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK), Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK), Leon Camier (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team), Ryuichi Kiyonari (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team) and Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) all elected to sit out the race one, however majority returned for the Superpole race and race two on Sunday.

The FIM statement read: ” At the request of the FIM in 2018, the circuit of San Juan was resurfaced to host WorldSBK in 2019. On Wednesday, 9 October, during the inspection of the track, the FIM safety officer requested the circuit management to wash the track to remove the dust that had accumulated during the last days to ensure the safety conditions necessary for the smooth running of the Argentinean round.

“After an intensive cleaning of the track, the homologation was issued on Thursday during a new inspection. This homologation procedure valid from Friday to Sunday is identical for each event of the championship and takes place on the Thursday preceding each race according to the FIM rules. On Friday evening during the safety commission meeting, the rider representatives expressed concern over the scorching conditions and its possible effect on the newly laid asphalt.

“In agreement with all the stakeholders (riders, representatives of FIM and Dorna), it was decided that a meeting would be held on Saturday at 12pm after the free practice session thre to make a new point on the situation. At this meeting all riders were happy with the improvement of the track conditions and it was unanimously decided to go ahead with the qualifying sessions and race.

“Nevertheless, after qualifying sessions, six WorldSBK riders decided not to take part in the race two hours later. The FIM wishes to remind that the safety of all riders is its priority and wish to emphasize that neither the scorching conditions nor the condition of the track surface at that precise moment justified the cancellation of the race.

“In addition and to provide a high level of marshalling, the FIM also provided a seminar for the 150 track marshals on Thursday at the San Juan circuit with the support of the national federation CAMOD.”

WorldSBK now heads to Qatar for the season-finale on 26 October.

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