MotoGP, Jan Witteveen: a brilliant idea for escape routes

The ex-Aprilia designer's idea to allow F1 and MotoGP to co-exist on the same circuit

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This photo depicts the Aprilia Trimurti: Leandro Scomazzon, Jan Witteveen and Carlo Pernat, respectively the CFO, the racing department manager and the sports director of the Noale-based manufacturer.

The three met today at the Red Bull Ring, making us nostalgic for the time when - together - they managed one of the greatest (not only Italian) organizations that motorcycling has ever known.

Three intelligent and skilled men in their respective segments of influence and capable of advancing their ideas without being influenced by the “powers that be”.

Witteveen, like the others, is still around. He recently left Superbike, where he followed Genesio Bevilacqua’s BMW team (he probably was unable to do what he likes to do most: work).

He gave an example of what a man like this can contribute to our sport by talking about safety and circuits.

"I don’t know how it is possible to give approval on a track where the escape routes are paved - the Dutch engineer argued, referring to Pedrosa’s crash that hurled him over the air-fence - It is obvious that when a bike slides on asphalt it does not slow down. Requirements for cars are completely different, also because an F1 car is able to slow down by braking and when it spins out the enormous friction of its tyres slow it much more than a sliding bike."

This is where his idea comes from.

"In my opinion, especially these days when MotoGP and F1 are able to attract spectators to the same track, solutions need to be studied that can be easily applied in order to change the escape routes on those corners where bikes and cars require different measures. Bearing in mind that a bed of gravel is the only thing capable of slowing down a sliding bike and stopping it before it gets to the barriers, I would suggest removing the gravel for the F1 races and, in the space that is left, placing slabs in cement or some other suitable material. A tile-like covering, easy to lay and easy to remove and replace with gravel again."

Too simplistic an idea? We don’t think so. To the contrary, it shouldn’t be too difficult to do. FIM needs a man like this.

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Translated by Jonathan Blosser

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