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Riders seek more safety at Australian race after wallaby near-miss

Riders seek more safety at Australian race after wallaby near-miss

General view during the Australian Grand Prix. (File photo: Reuters/Brandon Malone)

MotoGP riders have called for more safety from animals entering the track at Australia's Phillip Island circuit in a meeting with officials, after Spaniard Aleix Espargaro narrowly avoided a collision with a wallaby during free practice.

A video posted on MotoGP's official Twitter handle on Friday (Oct 14) showed the wallaby, which looks like a kangaroo but is smaller, hop across the track as Espargaro approached at speed and the Aprilia rider said after Saturday's qualifying that the matter was discussed in a safety commission meeting.

"At the beginning (of the meeting) everybody was laughing. But they understood it was a very important thing in terms of safety," Espargaro said.

"For me it is unacceptable. It was very dangerous. Let's see if they can improve. We asked them to close the track a little bit 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 tougher to control.

"For the birds you can't do anything. Birds can happen. But wallabies cannot. If yesterday I caught the wallaby, I was doing 220 kph, big, big, big crash," Espargaro said.

Australia's Jack Miller, who rides for Ducati, said that the animal was likely to have been at the venue well before the race weekend began.

"Don't get me wrong, it's dangerous to have kangaroos and whatnot hopping around in the middle of a track when you're doing 350kph," 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 waltzing in over the fences now because the fences are six-deep with people. I don't think it's too much of an issue."

Source: Reuters/zl


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