Red Bull Ring reveals new MotoGP chicane
Wednesday 30th March, 2022 - 8:32pm
The Red Bull Ring has revealed its newly completed chicane, which MotoGP will use for the first time in August’s Austrian Grand Prix.
A pair of approximately 90-degree corners has been installed midway up the long, sweeping run up the hill from Turn 1 to the standard Turn 3, in order to enhance safety for motorcycle riders.
The new layout eliminates the fast kink that was Turn 2, reducing the speeds at which riders arrive at the braking zone for the right-hander at the top of the hill.
It comes after a frightening crash in the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix, when Johann Zarco collided with Franco Morbidelli as they negotiated Turn 2, causing both riders to tumble through the gravel and their bikes to career out of control towards those making their way around the slow-speed corner ahead.
In an almost disastrous incident, Zarco’s Ducati speared through an infield air fence and leaped over Maverick Viñales at Turn 3, while the Morbidelli’s Yamaha bounced through the gap between Viñales and Valentino Rossi.
A rough layout of the new chicane was revealed in conjunction with last year’s pair of grands prix at the Red Bull Ring, although it is said that 15 iterations were drafted before a final version was decided upon.
The project was undertaken with the cooperation of the FIM, Dorna, and the FIA, although Formula 1 will continue to use the now standard layout without the chicane.
However, it was F1 race track designer Hermann Tilke who played a lead role.
“Reduced speed was needed in MotoGP in this section of the track,” he explained.
“This was achieved through the compact right-left combination which refrains from impacting the rest of the track.
“The planning was a real challenge due to the topography of the terrain, above all.”
The design is “based on specific speed calculations, in which the dimensions of the run-off zones and the other safety facilities were accounted for,” according to the Red Bull Ring.
As imagery released by the circuit shows, barriers have been pushed back to account for the new path which MotoGP riders will take.
Whether the change of layout will shake up the pecking order at the Spielberg circuit remains to be seen, although neither Ducati nor KTM expected to take a big performance hit when asked that question by Speedcafe.com last year.
The 2022 Austrian Grand Prix takes place on August 19-21.