The Tech3 MotoGP team put the Circuit of the Americas‘ emergency systems to the test after a small fire broke out in the team’s garage. Tech3 says the fire should not affect its participation in this weekend’s Grand Prix of the Americas race.
The fire, which ignited some time overnight, was quickly doused by COTA‘s sprinkler system. The fire itself did not cause any serious damage, though fire retardant and water from the sprinkler system damaged some of the team’s computer equipment. Tech3 says the fire was caused by an electric starter that was plugged in and recharging over the night.
“We have suffered quite a lot of damage and of course it is not ideal preparations but thankfully the fire prevention measures undertaken by the Circuit of the Americas and the assistance of the local Fire Department were invaluable in limiting the damage,” says Herve Poncharal, Tech3 team manager. “The sprinkler system was immediately activated and fire crews on scene promptly and I am grateful for that”
The damage wasn’t limited to just Tech3’s garage; sprinklers also activated in the Yamaha factory team, the LCR Honda team and the Cardion AB team garages.
“We will be conducting a thorough investigation to find out why this issue occurred and take the necessary steps to ensure it is not repeated in the future,” says Poncharal. “I would like to apologise to the Yamaha Factory Team, LCR Honda and Cardion AB too, as the sprinkler system was also activated inside their pit area as well. But it could have been much worse and with the fantastic support of Yamaha and others in the close-knit MotoGP community, I am confident we can participate in this weekend’s race without any additional problems.”
Massimo Meregalli, team manager of the Yamaha factory team says the damage was not too serious, though the team will have some work to do to dry their M1 racebikes.
“The first impression we had when we arrived was really bad but fortunately it doesn’t look as bad as we initially thought. We will now have to disassemble the bikes and dry them, clean them and rebuild them again. For sure it could have been a lot worse,” says Meregalli. “The emergency automatic fire system was activated and as a result we have water and white fire retardant powder everywhere. Most importantly no one was injured in this incident. The fire started around 1am and we were informed by IRTA at 6am. We are now in the process of cleaning everything. We have to say a big thank you to the circuit staff who are putting in a lot of effort to be of help.”
[Source: Tech3, Yamaha; Photos by Matthew Birt (Twitter)