No doubts: Buddh impresses MotoGP riders
While riders walk and cycle to analyse circuits on Thursday, Friday is when they get to burn rubber for the first time during free practice
Several riders had expressed their apprehensions before coming to India. Some even questioned the safety of a track which last hosted a major global motorsport event a decade back.
But all those doubts were laid to rest on Thursday as the MotoGP riders hit the Buddh International Circuit (BIC), walking or cycling the 4.96km track ahead of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix on Sunday.
“I walked the circuit twice yesterday and ran once this morning. Honestly, we were a bit too hard before coming here. It is much better than we all expected. About safety, there are some things that can be improved. But all racetracks in the world, there are places where we would like to improve. Here we need to figure it out but there is nothing critical. It can be one of the most fun (circuits) of the year,” said Tech3 rider Pol Espargaro.
BIC hosted three Formula 1 races from 2011 to 2013 after which the pinnacle of four-wheel racing decided not to return due to tax and bureaucratic hurdles in India. Fairstreet Sports, the promoters of MotoGP Bharat, have had to make modifications to the circuit to make it suitable for motorcycle racing like replacing run-off areas with gravel.
“The layout of the track is interesting. It’s nice and different compared to a lot of other tracks. It is going to be great," said reigning world champion Francesco Bagnaia of Ducati.
BIC has one of the longest straights (1.006km) of the MotoGP calendar. It also has a banked parabola, fast sweeping corners in addition to elevation changes that have impressed most riders.
“I really like the layout. It will be really interesting. I’m so excited to go on the track. It’s a bit different to what we are used to. We’re looking forward to tomorrow,” said Bagnaia’s main title challenger, Jorge Martin of Pramac Racing, who not just cycled the circuit but also took a bus ride around the newest MotoGP circuit. Martin also won the last race in Misano.
While riders walk and cycle to analyse circuits on Thursday, Friday is when they get to burn rubber for the first time during free practice. Saturday will see them take part in qualifying and the sprint race while Sunday will feature the main race, which will be 24 laps long.