Several MotoGP riders have spoken of the difficulty of competing as normal on Saturday afternoon at the Circuit of Barcelona, a day after the tragic death of Luis Salom.
Aleix Espargaro said he felt “empty inside” while younger brother Pol admitted “I am a little bit [scared] now” of the risks involved in racing after completing a full-schedule Saturday with the blessing of Salom's family.
“It's very difficult. Yesterday we were crying with my brother because he was really young. This is a disaster. With Pol we were thinking that the best thing was to not race because actually now I feel empty inside. But we were in the safety and Carmelo [Ezpeleta] said to us that the family asked us to race, so the desire is the most important thing right now.
“The most sad thing is how fast we forget everything. Yesterday at 4:00 everything happened and at 6:00 we were in the track trying to change the track for the next session, so this was even more sad. The world is like this, try to improve the safety in every track.
“We will try to work harder in the safety commission. But yesterday was something very, very bad luck because if he move one meter he could dive and nothing happened.
Tech 3 Yamaha's Pol Espargaro explained, “Yesterday I went to sleep and I thought 'This is a joke. This is not possible.' I woke up and thought that we dreamed [what happened] yesterday.
“But when you arrive in the pit box and see all the faces of the mechanics you know that it's not a joke. Fuck, it's really hard to get on a bike and go close to this corner. When something like this happens to one rider, you can think that maybe I am the next one. It's normal to be scared. I am a little bit now for sure.”
Meanwhile riders in the qualifying press conference were asked whether they wanted to continue the race weekend so soon after Salom's death.
Dani Pedrosa stated that he would not have minded if the event had been cancelled. “I would not mind,” said the 30-year old, who qualified third. “Sure, you need to keep going because you cannot stick in the place but after such a terrible thing I would not mind to cancel it.”
Pole sitter Marc Marquez said the blessing of Salom's family was crucial to the riders' decision to race.
“Of course like I said yesterday in the safety it was a possibility, it was the first possibility. But then Carmelo [Ezpeleta] together with us he called the team manager of Luis, then he call also his manager, his family. Of course the family was destroyed.
“But they said to us that if Salom would be alive that they would like to race. This I think was a hard decision of course, but I think it's the correct one. But you never know. But both options were good.”
Moto3 pole sitter Brad Binder also felt race organisers had gone through the correct protocol to ensure the right people were consulted before the event continued.
“For me, from what I've heard now, I feel like they've definitely taken the correct process to go about it,” said the 20-year old. “For me, honestly nothing would have really changed if they had cancelled the race or tried to carry on.
“But I feel like by Race Direction calling the parents and the parents saying he would have definitely liked the race to have continued, I feel like they definitely made the correction decision.”