Espargaro: ‘I don’t want to talk about rocks anymore, nobody listens to us’

Aleix Espargaro says discussions over reducing the size of gravel have gone on for four years, yet MotoGP officials still don’t ‘listen to us’.
Aleix Espargaro, Portuguese MotoGP test, 11 March
Aleix Espargaro, Portuguese MotoGP test, 11 March

The issue was once again raised after Fabio Di Giannantonio was unable to take part in day-two of the Portimao MotoGP Test due to a crash in which he suffered a concussion. 

Di Giannantonio crashed whilst engaged in a Sprint race simulation, however, the innocuous accident turned out to be anything but, as the Italian was sent tumbling through the gravel after hitting big rocks. 

Speaking on the subject, Espargaro said: "I don't want to talk about it anymore, we've been talking about it for four years and nobody listens to us. We have said it many times. 

"Yesterday Maverick and Diggia had problems with the pebbles. We have said this many times. In Jerez, too, we said it 1000 times before they changed anything."

"What do the MotoGP riders do when they are not listened to by those responsible? What am I supposed to do? I can't do anything. 

"We can express our feelings, nothing more. It would be wrong for us not to say anything. However, we have said it many times in the Safety Commission and also to the media. But there is no reaction to some things."

The issue was also raised on this week’s episode of the MotoGP Podcast, as Keith Huewen stated that Portimao has rocks the size of bricks from a builders’ site.

"The rocks are the size of half a brick, when they should be 8-20mm,” added Huewen. “There is a graded side of gravel which should be in the runoff areas. Portimao has builder’s yard bricks in the gravel! 

"They are bloody sore - worse still if one pings at you. Apparently they’re changing it, but it’s a massive job. Thousands of square metres. They’ve got to do it before we go racing."’s MotoGP editor, Peter McLaren, also added: "Di Giannantonio’s helmet looked like he’d been shot with a shotgun. He was really angry with the size of the gravel. Aleix was furious, as well."

With MotoGP taking several measures to improve safety in recent seasons, changing the size of gravel should be next on the agenda as it’s repeatedly shown itself to be a hazard for riders.

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