Major revisions to the infield road course are central to the future of the MotoGP race at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Talks were being held in advance of Sunday’s Indianapolis Grand Prix for a contract extension, with the often-criticized infield layout at the Brickyard a central issue.
Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi and British star Cal Crutchlow echoed the thoughts of leading riders after qualifying for the 27-lap race.
Spanish young gun Marc Marquez, riding for the Repsol Honda team, took pole position with a record lap for the 4.2-kilometer Indy track.
Marquez’s time of 1:37.958 was almost one second faster than the previous pole record held by his teammate, Dani Pedrosa.
But lap times could be dramatically faster next if the Indy GP, with track changes, is confirmed on the MotoGP calendar.
Rossi confirmed that IMS wants to continue with the premier-class MotoGP event but is insistent that complete resurface of the road course is essential.
The issue was raised by riders at Friday evening’s Safety Commission meeting at the Brickyard.
“Indy wants to continue to do the grand prix and they are ready to do a lot of work to improve,” Rossi said.
“The main problem is that the asphalt they use for the infield is very bad, the quality is not fantastic and this is the base to improve the racetrack.”
Crutchlow added that riders also want revision to the track layout to open up some of the tighter corners which hinder the performance of bikes and the challenge for riders.
Crucially, the Indy road course is run in the reverse direction for which it was originally designed for the now-discontinued Formula One Grand Prix at the Brickyard.
But one of Crutchlow’s more radical suggestions was dismissed by fellow riders and MotoGP race officials.
One of the problem corners is Turn 4, the very tight left-hander which swings the riders onto the infield adjacent to Turn 2 of the oval track.
“Honestly, I would run around the banking. Why not? It would be cool,” Crutchlow said.
“Straight into turn 1 and then around the banking (rejoining at turn 4), but no one else wants to do it. I thought it was a great idea.”
Crutchlow added that corner design changes at both the beginning and final section of the road course need to be made.
“We want some corners changed. To go around Turn 4, you might as well slip the clutch; it is not that good,” he said.
“And after turn 5 to the end of the lap, the surface is so slick you can’t really pass, because if you run off line, you are in the grass.
“If we just open out turns 2 and 3 so it is not as tight, then 4 can be more of a sweeping corner because now it is just first gear at 3,000 rpm for everyone.
“The last sector is the same; we all want it changed, although maybe not Honda because they can accelerate out of the corners, which the rest of us cannot do.”
Crutchlow, who qualified fourth fastest on the Monster Tech3 Yamaha at Indy, will become a full factory rider next season when he joins Ducati on a two-year deal replacing American star Nicky Hayden.