Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro have slammed Valentino Rossi for his thoughts on the changes made at Turn 10 of the Catalunya MotoGP circuit - since the Italian was among those who failed to attend the Safety Commission meeting in the aftermath of Luis Salom's fatal accident.
The Tech 3 team-mates felt more riders should have gone to the Safety Commission gathering on Friday evening to discuss changes to the track; which were ultimately made at Turn 12 – where Salom fell – and also Turn 10, at the end of the back straight, which had been a matter of discussion in the past.
While Rossi accepted the decisions because of his absence
, he commented, “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].”
Smith in particular was outspoken to his response, stating Rossi had “spat his dummy”, while the younger of the Espargaro brothers called on experienced heads like Rossi and reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo to attend to add valuable insight to decisions that have hefty consequences.
“Valentino was a guy that didn't turn up at the Safety Commission, hasn't assumed any of his duties - hasn't assumed any of his duties throughout the season - so he can't comment,” said Smith.
“He has not been to the Safety Commission once this year. Not once since Malaysia [clash with Marquez]. So he spat his dummy. So why spit your dummy again when you did nothing? You have no leg to stand on? He hasn't been once this year, so he doesn't have any reason to speak about this decision.
“Yesterday was the day to assume his responsibilities. Whatever problem he has - that he is not going to the Safety Commission any more - he should swallow his pride and turn up there and do his job as a MotoGP rider, to look after safety, but then he didn't. So don't say, 'oh, it should be changed'. I don't care what he says.”
Espargaro added, “Why has Valentino since Malaysia not been going to the Safety Commission? We need Valentino. We need him and his experience. We also need Jorge, who is never going
. He cannot say that. This is really stupid and not respectful to the riders that went yesterday.
“You are saying that there are corners that you know are dangerous but you don't go to the Safety Commission to say that. If someone crashes at that corner [that you think is dangerous] next year and dies what are you going to do? You'd say 'Fuck, I knew this was dangerous.' We have a big opportunity to show to the world that we are good people.
“We can say what we want to say. Moto2 and Moto3 don't have this opportunity. We are their faces. We have to be respectful of them. They cannot come. For sure all the grid of Moto2 and Moto3 would come but they can't. For that reason we must go.
“What happened in Malaysia [with Marquez]? Fuck, he can't forget. I had something like that in my past and I understand the situation. It's something so important and yesterday one guy died. If there was one day that you have to go to the Safety Commission it was yesterday because it's about respect.
“I hoped to discuss with all the riders. We went and we said bad words there. It's like a bar. We said things like, 'You are stupid, why did you go there?' But speaking together is the way to improve. We need a lot of people. Even if what you are saying is stupid things, all you need is one good thing to improve. We need all the riders in MotoGP.”
Cal Crutchlow, another rider in attendance on Friday evening, was also surprised to see just ten riders – including himself – from the 21-strong grid.
“Not really [surprised], no,” began the Englishman, who qualified seventh for Sunday's race.
“They know what time it is. They know where it is. Probably the ones that never came are the ones complaining at the end of the day. It's disappointing that week-in, week-out all the riders are not there.
“The Safety Commission is open to other classes but I've never seen one of them go. Every time you make a decision someone is going to complain about it. If they're not there to argue it or have an opinion...
“Don't get me wrong. There are some times I haven't attended. Maybe you're injured or sick. But most of the time it's the same people. Some turn up when the can. Maybe some other guys have commitments. It's disappointing that all the riders don't come but I have to say that over the years, there are certain riders that you never see there.”
The 10 of the 21 MotoGP riders at the Safety Commission meeting were: Marc Marquez (Honda), Andrea Iannone (Ducati), Pol Espargaro (Yamaha), Jack Miller (Honda), Bradley Smith (Yamaha), Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia), Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), Tito Rabat (Honda) and Cal Crutchlow (Honda).