At Sachsenring, the dispute continues about the redesign of the 11th turn, which leads to the iconic Wasserfall – a rapid descent from the hill by 42 meters, a place where you need to have the courage to drive at full throttle. But the 11th turn remains a subject of discussion.
The main problem with this turn is that when exiting it, the rider needs to make a rapid shift from left to right, which regularly leads to high sides.
T11 is the last turn in a series of left-handers, starting with T5: for 32 seconds, the MotoGP prototype goes full throttle on the left edge of the tire, while the right one manages to cool down.
There have always been a lot of departures in T11 and T12 following it. In 2012, when 1000 cc engines returned to MotoGP, the question of a possible change in the design of the turn was on the agenda. But it is especially acute in 2017, when in the 11th corner during the weekend only MotoGP pilots took off 14 times. The weekend was very cold, and the asphalt temperature at morning practices did not exceed +15-16 degrees.
In 2017, the Safety Commission ensured that the “step” in the last turn was removed, making it smoother and faster. So why not do something about the 11th?
Wolfgang Stroebel, managing director of Sachsenring Rennstrecke Management GmbH (SRM), has been trying to defend the current design all these years, stating that reconstruction is not required here. He is well acquainted with Franco Uncini, who heads the FIM Commission on Track Homologation, and they have discussed the issue many times. Uncini’s main argument for the last 5 years (i.e. after 2017) is that the departure of one motorcycle in T11 can lead to the “torpedoing” of others at the entrance to T12, plus, there is a threat of injury to marshals after the departure of the second, which he personally witnessed.
Uncini suggest making a bunch of 11-12 turns a little smoother by cutting off the angle; but what is much more important and relevant, add a pronounced profile (banking) on the outside of the canvas in T11 and T12 to improve the loading of the wheels when passing both turns. As Franco noted, the level of the outer part of the asphalt in the 11th turn needs to be raised by at least 30 cm, or even up to a meter, but “this should be calculated by specialists.”
Stroebel, as a counterargument, cited the fact that the “Waterfall” would then become even faster: now MotoGP pilots reach speeds of 242 km / h on the descent from the hill, which can lead to an increase in incidents at the entrance to T13. Since 2012, the reconstruction of the departure zone in T13 has already been done twice, increasing by 25 meters.
After the German Grand Prix of 2022, Wolfgang Stroebel had another argument for not touching T11: the number of falls during the weekend decreased overall, and there were only 5 of them in Turn 11 – three on Friday, two on FP3, none at qualifiers, warm-up or in the race. The reason for this improvement was simple – hot weather and a balanced set of Michelin tires.
During the summer holidays, Uncini came to Sachsenring again and met with SRM representatives. There they made it clear to him that there would definitely be no correction this year: Sachsenring now has no funds that they could use for reconstruction; plus, several auto and motorcycle events are planned on the track after August, so there is no enough time for repairs.
Therefore, Dorna and FIM have been eyeing Nurburgring for many years (its short version is GP Strecke, where DTM and IDM Superbike races are held and where World Superbike races were held). The national promoter of the German Grand Prix – ADAC, after the conflict with SRM, intended to move MotoGP to Nurburg, but the fraud scheme revealed by the authorities in the management company of the circuit and the financial catastrophe that followed brought ADAC’s efforts to naught – the West German track was paralyzed for many years during the period of anarchy, they were afraid to invest in it. And Dorna recognized that Sachsenring was and remains the most comfortable place for GermanGP – and signed a new multi-year contract with SRM, against the wishes of ADAC.
But Uncini believes that Nurburgring can return to the Moto Grand Prix calendar: “They have not had FIM Grade A homologation for a long time, but homologation for the Superbike is still in effect. I examined the track and considered the conditions under which Nurburgring could return the highest homologation for the Grand Prix. ADAC and Dorna are also interested,” the Franco-German Speedweek quotes.