Pol Espargaro may have sent his Respol Honda to the top four in Friday’s MotoGP times but the Catalan is scathing in his appraisal of the Austin track.
Softening the pill with his delight to be back racing in the United States, the 30-year-old didn’t mince his words on Friday night when discussing the ‘dangerous’ nature of the track surface and the ever increasing bumps around the demanding 5.5km layout.
“First of all we need to say that it’s super nice to come here to America, to be able to race here,” Espargaro began on Friday night. “Already, this is something super good after so long in Europe and to see the American fans is super nice, they are super excited, and it’s nice.
“Saying that, I think we are in a professional MotoGP Championship, that we need a minimum of quality in the tracks - about safety, runoff areas,” he stated. “That’s why we are in the Safety Commission, all of us just talking about this, every Friday a lot. Because many things that happen here, we can solve, or we can prevent these actions before they happen.
“We must say that the track is not on the level of a MotoGP Championship. Sure. First of all, there is parts where the asphalt is super bad, but not about the bumps, just these cracks everywhere. The asphalt is super old and it looks bad and also it’s bad grip but then there is the bumps and the bumps is not something that we can say if it’s better or if it’s worse.
“The bumps are super dangerous! This is something, I don’t know if it is going to arrive to the level of saying in the safety commission if we race or not, but what is sure is that we need a minimum levels of track qualities to go on a MotoGP. And for sure, by far, here in Texas, Austin is not on the level of MotoGP Championship. This is super clear.
“I have always been comfortable in the extreme situations,” he continued. “Like super bumpy or super windy or super cold, except the hot! In all the other conditions normally I’m pretty good, and I’m happy because today I could solve the problems. During the day I could manage the situation and I could make a good lap time, also good feelings.
“But, honestly speaking, I have my neck completely destroyed, I have quite a lot of pain on my neck and it’s like asleep from the many bumps that there is. My back is fully destroyed, my wrists are completely tired and I have quite a lot of pain on my left one which I have an old injury - there is a plate on.
“The impacts are so big and the bumps are so big that, on a street bike maybe you can manage but on the MotoGP bike, the MotoGP bikes are super hard, super aggressive and super powerful, heavy, and I honestly I have all my body destroyed. Like I’ve been doing three days testing, and I just did one session, because this morning was wet and we were not tired. Just in this afternoon I feel super tired and, okay, I’m pleased because the result is good, but in the other hand, if we need to make a race distance here, it’s gonna be hard. It’s gonna be difficult, very, very difficult. To finish the race is gonna be already something great.
“For sure, the track is one of the most tricky, because it’s long, many change directions. You need to add the hot conditions we have, that we have more than 30 degrees plus the huge humidity - we have more humidity than in Malaysia, Above 70% of humidity, which is crazy! And then you add all the bumps, the stress of the race, and the nerves. I mean to finish the race here is going to be already something.
“You never heard that from me, because normally I’m physically good and I like these physical races because I can take something else from it but honestly speaking here, after four laps, you feel very tired. And we are talking about the race is going to be 20, so it’s gonna be tricky.”