MotoGP riders will face a slightly revised Red Bull Ring circuit when they take to the track on Friday for opening practice for the first Austrian event since 1997.

Following concerns raised at a recent private test, the final corner has been narrowed and tightened by three metres - but the lack of run-off in some other corners remains a concern.

"Before the test we spoke about the last corner, but sincerely when I was on the track with the MotoGP bike the situation was better than I expected," stated Valentino Rossi, the only current rider to have raced at the circuit in the 1997 event.

"I spoke with [Safety Officer Franco] Uncini and said that, for me, we can stay also with the normal [corner] but after the other riders said it was better like this. So I think that is okay, it doesn't change a lot.

"First of all this track is very fast. When the track is fast it is always dangerous and have other points. Especially the exit of Turn 8 remains very dangerous, because it is very high speed and the wall is very close. This for me is the most dangerous point that we have to try to improve for the next years."

Andrea Dovizioso, one of the favourites for the race after Ducati riders swept the top four places at the test, added: "I think it was necessary to change Turn 10 and like Valentino says at Turn 8 for sure we have to do something for the future. During this weekend we will also see if Turn 4 - it's downhill so the runoff area is maybe not enough."

Rossi's Movistar Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo pointed out that, while the Turn 10 modification will make a small improvement in safety, Moto3 riders in particular may be tempted to run wide and thus carry more speed down the straight.

"It doesn't change so much; the corner is just three metres tighter," said the reigning triple world champion. "So we will go slower and farther from the wall, but [the run off] is the same, asphalt, so especially for Moto3 it will be difficult to understand where is the track limit and be precise, not to be outside the track."

The Repsol Honda team were one of the few to miss the July test, meaning championship leader Marc Marquez and team-mate Dani Pedrosa are yet to try the circuit on a MotoGP machine their only experience being on the RC213V-S road bike.

"Of course [the Turn 10 changes] will improve a little bit. If it's enough, this is always a question mark. But we improve the safety and the corner will be more tight, little bit less speed and more space until the wall. About the rest of the track, I don't know, we need to ride with the MotoGP first."

"I checked the modification with the scooter," commented Pedrosa. " Of course we have a little more space and little less speed so it should be an improvement. From what I can see it would also be an improvement if we could improve [run-off] into the braking at Turn 2. The wall on the left is quite close, but I haven't ridden on a MotoGP bike yet. It will be clearer tomorrow."

Tech 3's Bradley Smith, who also missed the test but was able to put in 112 laps on a World Endurance spec R1, stated: "In terms of the trajectory and lines and let's say danger areas, we have other tracks that are worse. So I still would give it a B+."

Asked which tracks are worse, the Englishman replied: "If we're talking about barriers close to brake points, Motegi.

"Sometimes [here in Austria] when you look with your eye you think, 'that's close', but if you check the distance it's actually acceptable. Clearly we're where we need to be at the moment, within the parameters of our safety numbers.

"Franco [Uncini, Safety Officer] would never put us out on the track if it wasn't within the numbers, it just wouldn't happen.

"To be honest the only thing I would like to see here is maybe a few more gravel traps, or longer gravel traps closer to the race track. Because it's a long time of sliding on tarmac before you get to the gravel."

Run-off size and format has been put under the spotlight following Luis Salom's tragic death at Catalunya in June. Responding to an FIM report which ruled out mechanical problems or bumps as causing the fall, Rossi said:

"At the beginning, when I saw the crash for the first time, I was sure that the bike had some problem. But if it's true that the bike had no problem, the problem is bigger because the runoff area was not enough, but have other places that are more dangerous. And if you imagine was [not] enough [run-off] with Moto2, with MotoGP is even less.

"For me, saying 'don't have the bumps' is a joke because everybody knows there are bumps there. Salom was also very unlucky with the dynamic of the crash, because he go into the bike at a bad angle."


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