Valentino Rossi has stated that the Grand Prix Safety Commission has discussed the possible dangers of Turn 12 at the Circuit of Barcelona “for six years”.
The paddock was still reeling after Luis Salom's tragic death, caused by an accident at that very corner on Friday afternoon, an incident that Rossi felt “was not normal” and stated that he felt a mechanical fault was to blame.
Rossi's comment also comes after Franco Uncini, the FIM Grand Prix Safety Officer, said that “we never had such a request from the rider” about the potential dangers at this corner
But Rossi, who qualified in fifth for Sunday's race, said the issue was raised in the Safety Commission after Niccolo Antonelli suffered a frightening fall there in 2014.
“We spoke about Turn 12 in the Safety Commission for six years. We say that we need more run off area.
“Unfortunately there is some work that you can do and some that you can't. Because of the grandstand… It's very expensive to modify this area. We already know it was dangerous there. But if you look at the crash unfortunately something happened on the bike.
“The turn 12 is a dangerous point. We already know because two years ago [Niccolo] Antonelli crash. He arrived to protection. Fortunately he didn't have any physical problem but he arrived in the protection so we put in more air fence.
“I remember very well we spoke about Turn 12 after the crash of Antonelli. Like in a lot of other races, we say that we need more running area. But sometimes this is impossible. In other places it's not possible. They put extra air fence but they say to us that it's not possible to have more run-off area.
“But this is not just in Barcelona. This is also in Jerez, on the exit from the last corner. If I think for a little bit there are minumum ten corners. In Motegi, turn four, we say every year we need more run off there. You check all the situation and in the end you can't set that on fire.
“This is the reality. Unfortunately something very bad happened that reminds us of the risk of our sport. It was another crash and another problem. During the season you have occasions that if something happens on the bike there is not enough space.”
Rossi then explained how he felt Salom's fall was not normal, and arose because of a mechanical issue.
“The crash of Salom was not normal and you have many points during the year when if something go wrong with the bike you don't have the room. Anyway, Turn 12 is a dangerous point. We already know.
“I don't know. Something in the steering, something in the throttle, something on the brake. Turn 12 is very demanding on the front and you have a lot of bumps. Every lap is a lot of risk but usually you exit from the previous right.
“You hit second, third [gear], you enter and usually the normal crash is 35-40 metres later. You go on the right. If you open the angle and go on the right you have a lot more space. But Salom unfortunately go straight. He arrived at one speed that was unnatural. He didn't slow down.”
Like team-mate Jorge Lorenzo
, Rossi also was puzzled as to why the Safety Commission also decided to change Turn 10.
“I don't understand sincerely why they modify another corner where nothing happen. This is not very clear and I don't know why but on the other hand I wasn't in the Safety Commission. I take that decision so we will race like this.
“For Turn 10, personally, they don't have to change. It's true the run off area is not a lot. It's like this, minimum, 20 or 30 corners during a season. For me it was better the other one [corner].”