(Reuters) – MotoGP riders have called for more safety against animals entering the track at Australia’s Phillip Island circuit during a meeting with officials, after Spaniard Aleix Espargaro narrowly avoided a collision with a wallaby during free practice.
A video posted to the official MotoGP Twitter account on Friday showed the wallaby, which looks like a kangaroo but is smaller, leaps onto the track as Espargaro approaches at full speed and the Aprilia rider said after qualifying for on Saturday that the issue had been discussed at a meeting of the security committee. .
“At the beginning (of the meeting) everyone was laughing. But they understood that it was a very important thing in terms of safety,” Espargaro said.
“For me, this is unacceptable. It was very dangerous. Let’s see if they can improve. We asked them to close the track better.”
MotoGP did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Large birds also found their way onto the track during Moto3 practice and Moto2 qualifying on Saturday, but Espargaro said they would be harder to control.
“For birds you can’t do anything. Birds can happen. But wallabies can’t. If yesterday I caught the wallaby, I was doing 220 km/h, big, big, big crash,” said Espargaro.
Australian Jack Miller, who rides for Ducati, said the animal was likely at the scene well before the start of the race weekend.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s dangerous to have kangaroos and not hop in the middle of a track when you’re going 350 km/h,” he added.
“It’s not nice to have (animals) on the track, but at the end of the day what are you going to do?
“I’m sure there’s nothing going over the fences now because the fences are six people deep. I don’t think that’s too much of a problem.”
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Michael Perry)