Motorcycle racing at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza circuit has been suspended as Italian authorities investigate allegations of safety violations that emerged following the May 6 round of the World Superbike Championship.
The controversial Monza WSBK round had its first race cancelled due to heavy rains after several riders had crashed. The second race was delayed and shortened first to 17 laps then 16 laps, and finally as rain resumed during the race, to just eight laps, resulting in half points being awarded for the race. But that wasn’t the worst of it.
Wiretaps by public investigators have since emerged suggesting track organizers were aware of tarmac bubbling on the Parabolica curve and intentionally concealed that information. The conversations, recorded May 3-6 were part of a larger investigation over allegations of tax fraud and bid rigging.
Several racers including Marco Melandri and John Hopkins crashed at that curve in Race One before the race was red flagged and called off. Most of the data following the race however suggested rain was the primary factor behind the crashes. Still, organizers now admit there were about 50 bubbles forming on the track including some along the racing line.
The recorded conversations (published by Sportmediaset and translated by TwoWheelsBlog) were between Monza’s Technical Director Giorgio Beghella and Track Director Enrico Ferrari, and between Beghella and Track Manager Stefano Tremolada. The recordings suggest they were aware of the bubbles but intentionally kept the information quiet.
Thursday May 3rd – 7:27pm
Beghella: I’m really worried about the condition of the asphalt at the Parabolica.
Ferrari: What’s wrong?
Beghella: It’s coming up!
Ferrari: At the Parabolica?
Beghella: There are two bubbles in the middle of the turn .. keep it to yourself, shut up about it!
Ferrari: certainly… I’m not crazy … why did it happen?
Beghella: I went there … it’s also soft … boh… we’ll see tomorrow when the temperature is lower … before there wasn’t anything … there wasn’t anything … it’s phenomenon like we had in the run-off at the Variante
Ferrari: I see …
Beghella: but … I walked on it … and pressed it with my feet … it went down … but it came up again after a while … so when the asphalt bubbles it could mean two things …
Ferrari: like an air bubble … a water bubble
Beghella: no there’s something now, tomorrow …we’ve already called …(not understandable)
Ferrari: Is it on the racing line?
Beghella : yes it’s enough on the racing line …
Ferrari: we did the motorcycles and no one said anything
Beghella: no we won’t say anthing, this came out with the temperature … we have to see tomorrow morning because I think it can’t be seen there … and because the temperature is lower … and if on Sunday there isn’t any sunshine
Ferrari: not even on Saturday
Beghella: Right … if the temperature is lower whe should be okay and then on Monday we’ll see what we can do
Ferrari: I understand
Beghella: (not understandable) …come tomorrowv
Ferrari: I understand … okay
Friday May 4th – 8:00 am
Beghella: Hello? What’s the situation:
Tremolada Stefano: … this morning, better, better, in the sense that …. they aren’t bubbled up and are flatter to the ground …
Beghella: Now I’m going down … can I?
Tremolada: I do not know, because I saw from this side that they closed the gates, I’m going to camping grounds, I rode around a couple of time and I think it’s OK … but I didn’t stop very long … I say it … so no one notices something strange … someone who …
Beghella: Sure, sure, no, no that is …. so it’s pointless for me to go there
Sunday May 6th 12:19 pm
Tremolada: Are you here by chance?
Beghella: No, I’ve already left
Beghella: Is it coming up?
Tremolada: No, three crashed in the same place … and now they’re probably checking …. and if the problem pops up?
Tremolada : There! The problem could turn up!
Tremolada: The problem will come out!
Beghella: But can you see it?
Tremolada: I think so, I this morning … this morning it wasn’t there was, but the temperature rose suddenly
Beghella: Yes, I saw, I saw …
Tremolada: So now they are evaluating, are considering …. they are looking around, they’ve stopped car
Beghella: But who is looking?
Tremolada: I think Eškinja and Carloia ..
Beghella: I don’t know Eškinja, maybe … Carloia
Tremolada: He did the inspection!
Beghella: Eh …
Tremolada: He did the SMI inspection
Beghella: Ah, okay, … I don’t think they understand much…
Tremolada: And yet …
Beghella: Unless … really … it’s not …
Tremolada: When I know something I’ll get back to you… so we’ll see …
Beghella: Ok, thanks Stefano
May 6th – 12:21 pm
Tremolada: They called me to the Race Direction – I’m going to hear what they have to say.
Beghella: Yes, Stefano, Stefano, eventually we could say that we discovered it now eh … you reveal that those thing go down, and we’ll push them down with some weights it’s the only thing we can do … but if they don’t say anything…
Tremolada: No, I won’t say anything …
Beghella: You shut up, eh .. shut up ,… and then call me okay?
Tremolada: Okay, without a doubt