Portimao Circuit Undergoes Important Safety Changes Ahead of MotoGP Round.

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Ahead of this weekend’s MotoGP Portuguese Grand Prix, the Algarve International Circuit has seen significant safety updates, particularly concerning the gravel traps.

In recent years, riders have been urging for changes to the gravel traps at the circuit near Portimao, citing concerns over the use of what they deemed to be dangerously sized stones.
This issue gained prominence during the 2022 Portuguese GP when Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia experienced a crash during Friday practice and subsequently collected several stones from the gravel.
The gravel trap matter was raised in the safety commission discussions that year.

However, in 2023, Gresini’s Fabio Di Giannantonio had to skip the final day of pre-season testing in Portugal after crashing into the gravel.

Following his crash, the Italian suffered a concussion as his crash helmet was shattered by the impact of the stones. This prompted him to comment at the time: “If we have to race under these conditions, we might as well go to Monaco where the spectacle is greater and the risks are similar.”


Following this incident, the riders persisted in urging the championship to compel the circuit to implement the long-requested changes to the gravel traps.

As MotoGP returns to Portugal this weekend for the second round of the 2024 season, the majority of the gravel in the run-off zones around the Algarve track has been exchanged.

A document outlining the circuit upgrades states: “A new type of stone has been introduced to most gravel zones, some asphalt run-offs have been decreased to expand the gravel areas, and air fence modules have been installed.”

Although the exact location of the new air fencing has not been explicitly mentioned, particular attention will be given to Turn 10, where Pol Espargaro endured a severe accident during practice last year.

The former Tech3 GasGas rider was ejected from his KTM bike during the latter part of the second practice session while pushing on an outlap to warm up his tires for a timed attack.

Espargaro sustained multiple fractures to his back and jaw, resulting in him missing half of the 2023 season, after colliding with an unprotected tire barrier in the incident. Following last year’s incident, an air fence was installed at that corner.

Stay tuned with We4GP for more news.

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