It wasn't just Formula 1 that thread the needle last season with Romain Grosjean' s accident in Bahrain. MotoGP had a similar hair-raising incident earlier in the year, with Valentino Rossi among others being lucky enough to make it out in one piece. For the time being, however, this has not led to any additional safety measures.
This incident took place at the hairpin (turn 3) at the Red Bull Ring. In the fast Turn 2 Johann Zarco and Gianni Morbidelli nudged each other at top speed. Their bikes shot like torpedoes towards the apex of Turn 3, narrowly missing the heads of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales.
No chicane in Turn 2
After the accident, a barrier on the inside of the hairpin was installed for the Grand Prix a week later to prevent motorcycles from crossing the track, but there was also discussion if the track should not be adjusted at that point. For example by adding a chicane at turn 2.
The FIM however just approved the current layout for 2021. Andy Meklau, the director of the MotoGP race in Spielberg, tells Motorsport.com that nothing has changed yet, but that doesn't mean that this part of the track will stay the same in the future.
Red Bull Ring open to change
“Safety is the top priority. If the motorcycles get even faster, you can discuss a chicane again", Meklau said. Although F1 has had a similar accident in this corner in the past (2002), the risks of a hairpin after such a long straight are much higher for MotoGP.
The bikes reach higher top speeds, but also have to brake to a lower speed, so the speed difference is much bigger. Plus, of course, motorcyclists are much more vulnerable than an F1 driver in his cockpit.