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Austin MotoGP: Factory Yamaha clean-up underway
18 April 2013
The small overnight fire in the Tech 3 Yamaha pit garage at the Circuit of the Americas also had consequences for the neighbouring Factory Yamaha MotoGP team.
The motorcycles of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo - plus team equipment - were coated in water and white fire retardant powder, unleashed by the emergency automatic fire system.
“The first impression we had when we arrived was really bad but fortunately it doesn't look as bad as we initially thought,” said team principal Massimo Meregalli. “We will now have to disassemble the bikes and dry them, clean them and rebuild them again. For sure it could have been a lot worse.
“We don't know the cause yet but it is possible the fire started in a battery of an electric motorcycle engine starter inside the Tech 3 garage. The emergency automatic fire system was activated and as a result we have water and white fire retardant powder everywhere. Most importantly no one was injured in this incident.
“The fire started around 1am and we were informed by IRTA at 6am. We are now in the process of cleaning everything. We have to say a big thank you to the circuit staff who are putting in a lot of effort to be of help.”
The sprinkler system in the LCR Honda and Cardion AB pits was also activated, leaving them to face a similar clean-up ahead of Friday's opening practice for the inaugural Texas MotoGP.
Yamaha racing boss Lin Jarvis believes the automatic fire system undoubtedly saved the day: "If we hadn't been here at this excellent facility, we could have lost six bikes."
However water from the sprinklers now poses a considerable reliability threat to the electronics.
"The problem that we can't anticipate is the knock-on effect. We need to make sure that everything is dry, due to corrosion problems," he explained. "Mechanical parts are easy because you can see. Electrical parts you cannot. So that requires a lot of testing."
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