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Jorge Lorenzo: Teams underprepared for bike swaps

Lorenzo: Teams underprepared for bike swaps
By AutoSport

09/08/2017 at 18:16Updated 09/08/2017 at 22:04

Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo says MotoGP's 'flag-to-flag' rules for swapping bikes mid-race are dangerous because teams are not prepared for Formula 1-style pitstops.

Last weekend's Czech Grand Prix at Brno put the series' flag-to-flag regulations, introduced in 2005, in the spotlight as the race started on a wet but drying track.

Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro called for a change to the regulations post-race after he was released into the path of Suzuki's Andrea Iannone having swapped to a dry set-up bike, with Iannone crashing in the pitlane in avoidance.

Lorenzo, who finished 15th after pitting before his second bike had been prepared by Ducati, said the Espargaro-Iannone incident highlighted that MotoGP team personnel are not as well prepared for pitstops as their F1 counterparts.

"This is not F1, we don't have the culture of changing tyres," said Lorenzo.

"They are better and more prepared.

"In bike racing this is a strange situation, and in MotoGP everyone in the pits is confused.

"I'm against this situation because it is dangerous, look at what happened to Iannone.

"There was confusion, luckily nobody was hurt."

The Spaniard conceded promoter Dorna was unlikely to make any fundamental changes to flag-to-flag, given the rules guarantee a race can be held in all conditions.

"Dorna decides and we are the ones who have to race, even if we are able to discuss things in the safety commission," said Lorenzo.

"I have proposed certain things [to change] in flag-to-flag. Others prefer to keep things as they are to maintain the spectacle.

"At the end Dorna prioritises the show but this also leads to many risks being taken."

Yamaha's Valentino Rossi said flag-to-flag remains the best solution for races held in mixed conditions, even if certain rules regarding bike swaps could be tightened.

"We need to clarify the rules about changing bikes," said Rossi.

"Motorcycling is a bit new to this, and that's probably why we should introduce clearer rules about how to proceed.

"Anyway, the alternative is to stop the race, but I think the current option is least bad, especially for the spectators."

Marc Marquez, who won the Brno race with an earlier swap to his slick-shod second bike than his rivals, acknowledged that the flag-to-flag format would always carry a certain amount of risk.

"Now it's much less dangerous than before, but there will always be some danger, both here and in F1," said Honda rider Marquez.

"Everything has to be well organised."