The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team have thanked the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) and local Austin Fire Department staff for their immediate action after a small fire broke out inside Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith's pit garage overnight.
One of the electric starters for their YZR-M1 machinery caught fire. Fortunately, a sprinkler system was immediately activated and prevented any major destruction, but the Tech 3 pit and nearby garages were soaked in the process.
Tech 3 confirmed that computer equipment was damaged, but is not anticipating any problems in terms of participation in this weekend's inaugural Texas event. Team staff will now commence a thorough investigation into the cause of the fire.
"Unfortunately there was a small incident inside the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 garage overnight,” commented team manager Herve Poncharal. “The process of starting a MotoGP machine requires an electric starter and overnight they are left on charge. This is standard procedure and something we have been doing ever since the introduction of the four-stroke era.
"Unfortunately in the night one of the batteries caught fire. We have suffered quite a lot of damage and of course it is not ideal preparations but thankfully the fire prevention measures undertaken by the Circuit of the Americas and the assistance of the local Fire Department were invaluable in limiting the damage.
“The sprinkler system was immediately activated and fire crews on scene promptly and I am grateful for that. We will be conducting a thorough investigation to find out why this issue occurred and take the necessary steps to ensure it is not repeated in the future.
“I would like to apologise to the Yamaha Factory Team, LCR Honda and Cardion AB too, as the sprinkler system was also activated inside their pit area as well. But it could have been much worse and with the fantastic support of Yamaha and others in the close-knit MotoGP community, I am confident we can participate in this weekend's race without any additional problems.”
Meanwhile, COTA officials have played down the chance of any toxic clouds from the massive fertilizer plant explosion in Waco on Wednesday reaching the circuit. COTA is around 160km from Waco.
Circuit security is set to be strict following the recent Boston Marathon Bombings, although COTA insists many of the measures were already in place during last year's F1 event.