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MotoGP: Should Sachsenring Turn 11 be changed?

"Riders look to be visibly leaning less, therefore it is more difficult to lose the front"
While the new Sachsenring surface received unanimous approval at the German MotoGP, some riders again called for changes to be made at the notorious Turn 11 'Waterfall' right-hander.

Yet, on paper, there is no obvious 'fault' with the corner, or concern over the size of the run-off area.

The main problem is that the quickest turn on the track is preceded by seven left-handers, allowing the right side of the tyre to cool by the time it is needed most.

Adding to the challenge is the negative camber as the track plummets downhill, as riders get on the gas, further reducing load on the front wheel. Almost all of the Waterfall accidents are from losing the front.


During the 2017 German Grand Prix weekend, Turn 11 saw the most accidents for the MotoGP class (5). However for Moto2 it was Turn 12 that topped the list (6) and Turn 1 in Moto3 (7):

2017 German GP falls per turn (Crash.net).

During the recent resurfacing, some slight positive camber was added to Turn 11. Although some riders felt there was no difference the overall number of Turn 11 accidents was the lowest since 2012:

2017 German GP Turn 11 falls per year (Crash.net).

In 2014, riders rejected a modified version of the corner and few can agree on what, if anything, should be done.

Crash.net asked Jarno Zaffelli of Dromo Circuit Design - creator of the Termas de Rio Hondo layout, plus recent modifications at Misano and Sepang - for his opinion on Turn 11.

In brief, Zaffelli notes that the resurfacing and slight camber change "seems to be working" with riders appearing to use less lean angle, making it harder to lose the front.

Zaffelli also considers the corner "a masterpiece" and that changing it should be a last resort, especially given the low number of injuries at that location. If a change is to be made, he would look at the layout before Turn 11.

The full explanation can be seen below:

"In 2013 I was particularly interested in how to improve that corner. After some research at the time I noticed that:

"Crash probability up to 2013:
Turn 1 and Turn 3 'ex aequo' was 24%.
Turn 11 was 3rd at 17% (see below):

Graph: Dromo

"MotoGP Bridgestone bike falls:
85% on right hand corners, 15% on left hand corners

"Moto2 and Moto3 Dunlop bike falls:
54% on right hand corners, 46% on left hand corners (see below):

Graph: Dromo

"These findings pointed out that the crashes were absolutely related to tyre behaviour - maybe related to the weight/power of the MotoGP bike, and maybe because of a cold right-edge to the tyre.

"When Michelin replaced Bridgestone at the start of last year, the interesting fact was that the total of Michelin plus Dunlop crashes at Turn 11 did not change sensibly. However this year they recorded only 6 crashes (5 MotoGP and 1 Moto2) instead of 10 in 2016, before the resurfacing and re-profiling.

"It might be too soon to say that the slight lateral re-profiling worked to reduce the number of crashes. We will see. But the first impression is that it seems to be working. Riders look to be visibly leaning less, therefore it is more difficult to lose the front.

"There are many ideas on what to change about Turn 11, and several are without actually touching the corner.

"I think Turn 11 is a masterpiece and a place that can make a difference between riders and boys. Ideas alone are not enough though. I would need to continue to analyse the situation on modern bikes and know more of the actual track to design something workable.

"But a change of layout would be the last option, as per my style.

"If there is to be any design change, maybe I would look at the layout before Turn 11 rather than Turn 11 itself. Any changes for MotoGP should also not affect the already well-balanced ratio of left to right hand Moto2 and Moto3 falls at the circuit.

"One more thing. The FIM did a very good job at Turn 11 on the safety side. The injuries there are very few, or none. Except for the bikes of course. But if the injury ratio is so low in that corner, is it so bad that they continue to fall there?"

The worst injury of the Sachsenring weekend, a fracture of the right ankle and leg for Jorge Martin, occurred at Turn 2 in Moto3 Free Practice 2.

By Peter McLaren


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Tagged as: crash , turn 11

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ZeFrenchAngle

July 09, 2017 2:21 PM
Last Edited 6 days ago

Well, none of the top world-class riders, Rossi, Marquez, Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Vinales, and Stoner have ever complained about it, so it is really about ...... top class skill ! Secondly, that graph tells it all : Turns 1 and 3 both have far more accidents than Turn 11, the Waterfall, by 7%. Most interestingly, the majority of Turn 11 crashes happen in Free Practice, rarely in the race ! Thirdly : the point about the marshalls was a non-point by one specific rider. The camera flattens out the distances and it became very clear that the German marshalls have a well rehearsed procedure - one watches for crashes while the others attend to the crashed rider. Result : although two or three specific riders have been very vocal about it, probably because of their own inability to handle the waterfall as well as others, there is absolutely no reason to change it.

Challenger

July 09, 2017 12:04 PM

Yes let's sanitise all the race tracks in all the world, get rid of all the bumps, all the ripples, let's have massive run-off areas so poor riding and rider mistakes wont be punished, never mind that spectators are being pushed further and further away from the action, just get rid of everything and anything that might cause a crash. Where does this pursuit for safety end? If there is no danger in motorsport then motorsport that relies on direct human involvement is pointless. Say a racing suit and helmet manufacturer reveals a suit that will protect the rider from any and all injury no matter how big the crash, do you think a rider using such a thing would approach a 70mph corner at 70mph or do you think he might risk it and try and take the corner at 100mph knowing full well he wont suffer any injury should he crash?



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