Uncini: "Hayden made a mistake"
The crash involving Nicky Hayden during the GP of Aragon left everyone holding their breath. The American ran off track at turn 16, continuing on through the runoff area and eventually impacting a retaining wall. The Ducati rider was then thrown over the wall, while his bike remained on the other side. The first medical checks confirmed that the American was conscious and had full movement in his limbs. It was also revealed that he suffered no head trauma and did not re-injure his wrist. Nonetheless, he was taken to a local hospital for further checks.
After seeing the replay, many were left to wonder why an air fence wasn't erected in front of the wall in question. Responding to this question was Head of Safety Franco Uncini, on the Italian post race show: "The runoff area is over 100 meters long, and it conforms to the safety standards in place. In reality, Hayden took a risk by keeping the bike up and trying to brake in time. Unfortunately he couldn't do it, and he hit the wall. For next year, we will investigate the possibility of paving this runoff area, giving riders a better chance to maneuver if he run off track, while also leaving sufficient space to stop if they are sliding."
The television images reveal, however, that the runoff area starts with artificial turf, followed by gravel, a small strip of asphalt and then a large patch of grass. This mix of surfaces probably caused some confusion for the American rider, possibly leading him to attempt to keep the bike upright.
"We can't complain about the safety of the tracks - commented Andrea Dovizioso - The runoff areas are very big, and even in that particular corner. Perhaps they could install an air fence, which is always helpful because the gravel slows you down less than the asphalt when the bike is upright."
Translation by Sean Sedacca