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Old 02-02-2016, 07:50 AM   #1
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Loris Baz Survives Massive Crash At Sepang MotoGP Test

Photo By Gold & Goose

Loris Baz was okay after his big crash on the front straight of Sepang International Circuit. His Avintia Ducati Desmosedici GP15, not so much.

The newly turned 23-year-old Loris Baz had a big scare today on day two of the MotoGP pre-season test at Sepang: a 180-mph get off on the front straight of the Malaysian circuit. Early concerns of the cause were an engine or gearbox issue that locked the rear wheel, a rear linkage failure, or the more simply – the tire itself. It was ultimately confirmed that the rear tire was to blame.

Fortunately for Baz he was okay, just a stiff back and a bruised elbow. A belated birthday present? In spite of the huge get off, the Frenchman was in good spirits and ready to get back on track, but he was also very thankful.

“The rear locked really fast,” Baz said. “So I tried to take the clutch, that’s the first thing you do, but you know that you’re going to crash. I knew I was going to crash and when you are sliding you just hope that you’re not going to hit the wall or someone hit you from behind… Really lucky to be here.”

Going into more detail about the incident Baz said: “It was my second run and I had the new tire just to make the lap time. Going into the last corner I heard something strange, but I just wanted to finish the lap. At the beginning I thought it was the engine or the gearbox, but looks like it’s just a tire problem. So maybe the tire touching the bike, maybe that was the noise I was hearing. But no strange feeling, no chattering, nothing – so I couldn't expect that the tire was going to explode like this on the straight.”

Photo By Gold & Goose

The carcass of Baz' rear tire was collected on the front straight for Michelin technicians to analyze.

The session was red flagged for an hour and a half, not only to remove the debris, but to also evaluate the situation. Ducati was looking into possible technical issues and Michelin was looking into the tire. The bits of tire carcass littered across the front straight were collected for analysis. As a precaution, the softer tire compound was removed from the testing roster, leaving riders just the harder compound to adjust to. Also, Michelin also bumped the tire pressures up a bit to 1.7 bar from 1.5.

Explaining a little bit about the procedure, Dorna Sport’s Safety Advisor Loris Capirossi said: “We tried to understand first with Ducati if was technical problem, but we don't find a problem. We’re working really hard with Michelin to really understand what happened. But in the moment we decide to take off the allocation of the softer tire and to use only the tires with the harder compound.”

How proactive are they for finding an answer?

“We already start to check the tire here,” Capirossi said. “We try to check all the tires yesterday, all the tires this morning, every time the riders stop and change the tire, we check. This is really important to try to understand now, not to send back to France to discover the problem because the test continuing.”

Capirossi also pointed out another possibility – low tire pressure.

“We don’t want to accuse somebody, but maybe somebody go a little bit more down with the pressure and maybe some problems come out,” Capirossi said. “We don't know that, but this is one option.”

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