Red Bull Ring reveals new chicane layout

A map of the Red Bull Ring showing the new chicane. Picture: Red Bull Ring

The Red Bull Ring has revealed the design of the chicane which will be built in time for MotoGP’s return next year.

The chicane will be installed at the Turn 2 kink which forms part of the fast, uphill run from the end of the main straight to the switchback Turn 3 hairpin.

Motorcycle grands prix at the Austrian circuit have been especially hair-raising affairs in recent times, with four red flags in races at three events across this season and the last.

At least two of those have been a function of the design of the track, including a shocking incident in last year’s Austrian Grand Prix for the premier class.

It was then that Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli clashed at the Turn 2 kink, which caused each to tumble through the gravel.

More concerning, both Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales were nearly hit by flying motorcycles at Turn 3 when Zarco’s Ducati speared through an infield air fence and Morbidelli’s M1 bounced through the gap between his factory Yamaha counterparts.

Barriers on the inside of the hairpin were extended in time for the Styrian Grand Prix on the following weekend, and have been retained for this year’s racing at the Red Bull Ring.

The new chicane is intended to slow bikes down and thus reduce the likelihood of another incident similar to the Zarco-Morbidelli scare.

“The Red Bull Ring has hosted Formula 1 since 2014 and the Motorcycle World Championship since 2016,” read a statement from the circuit.

“Since then, hundreds of thousands of fans have experienced numerous great race weekends at the Spielberg.

Franco Morbidelli’s Yamaha and Johann Zarco’s Ducati cartwheel through Turn 3 after nearly hitting Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi in 2020. Picture: MotoGP television world feed

“In order to further improve the attractiveness and safety of the Austrian Grand Prix circuit, a chicane will be built in the area of the second turn in coordination with the FIA and the Formula One Group as well as the FIM, Dorna and AMF.

“The necessary construction work will start in November and continue over the winter so that the Red Bull Ring can start the 2022 season with the new track layout for two-wheel racing series.”

Zarco would eventually be penalised with a pit lane start at the following race for his part in the aforementioned crash.

The mess had occurred on the same day that the Moto2 race was red flagged for a similarly spectacular incident, in which Enea Bastianini went down exiting Turn 1 and his bike was collected by Hafizh Syahrin.

A week later, Viñales caused another stoppage when he jumped from his bike due to brake failure, with the Yamaha popping an air fence and catching fire.

Last weekend’s premier class race too was red flagged when Dani Pedrosa crashed his KTM exiting Turn 3 and it was hit by Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadori, a prang which also led to a fire.

Formula 1 will continue to use the kink rather than the chicane.

MotoGP’s next round at the Red Bull Ring begins shortly.

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