Yamaha riders Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty have criticised the decision by race officials to not stop the second World Superbike race at the Nurburgring earlier after feeling their opinions were not heeded.
Following a dry first race, in which Melandri and Laverty would go on to finish well in second and fourth respectively, the second encounter was blighted with heavy rain that began falling just minutes before it got underway.
Having been declared wet, the race began after a delay of 15 minutes, with Melandri and Laverty embarking on a fairly tight battle, unlike the rest of the field, which had been strung out by the difficult conditions.
However, neither rider was satisfied to be continuing in such poor conditions, regularly gesticulating to officials as they crossed the finish line. With the conditions intensifying around lap twelve/thirteen, culminating in a handful of riders coming off, including race leader Noriyuki Haga, the race was eventually halted on lap thirteen.
Melandri feels this was far too late, criticising the officials for being more concerned with completing two-thirds of the race – by which point the result can be declared – than for rider's safety.
“I tried to keep going and finish without crashing,” said Melandri, who kept going for sixth. “I had an issue with the electronics on the bike and the display wasn't working well so I was extra cautious in order to stay up. I feel it was an incorrect judgment of the rider's safety to complete two thirds of the race in these conditions. I am very disappointed, in my opinion the race should have been stopped at the beginning for safety reasons."
Melandri's views were echoed by his team-mate, with Laverty suggesting oil had been left on the circuit following Jonathan Rea's crash at turn one.
“The second race was treacherous and on safety grounds I think it should have been stopped. I got the impression there was oil on the track after Rea came off his bike and re-joined so everyone was crashing out. We did well that all the riders are coming away without major injuries but I'm upset that we had to risk so much."
Their views have been shared by other riders, including Leon Camier, while Tom Sykes – the main beneficiary of the decision to stop the race on lap thirteen – also admitted the race should have been stopped.
“The second race was dramatic,” added Yamaha team manager Andrea Dosoli. “The riders completed 14 laps over the limits of security. From the 11th lap onwards the weather got worse and as a consequence it was even riskier for the riders. I'm relieved that both riders managed the dangerous situation so well without getting injured and gained important points for the championship. For the future we need to find a way to avoid these risks for the rider's safety.”