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GP Week : Issue 148
The new safety-oriented compulsory front brake protectors came in for serious scrutiny and some stinging criticism after Yamaha’s Ben Spies was dragged along by the hand after slipping off at speed during Saturday’s third free practice. It was in fact his left hand trapped by the right handlebar, and it came free before any serious consequences – but the circumstances triggered fears that the compulsory guards had already shown the potential to do more harm than good. Guards were put into the regulations after a steady series of crashes after a rear-end collision had jammed the front brake and locked the wheel. The design is free but must be passed by the technical staff, with major emphasis on avoiding trapping a rider’s hand in a crash. Full loops are not allowed: all solutions are similar, with an L-shaped bracket projecting for ward from the clip-on outside the brake lever. The assumption that the system had backfired was widespread, and only dispelled after numerous replays of various angles at race control showed that in fact the guard had snapped off as per design, and it was the lever itself that had trapped the rider’s glove. Spies had to view the same footage before he could confirm that the guard had “aalready broken off, so I don’t know really what got caught, but obviously something did because I got drug a little bit. If it had been the brake guard, then I would be pretty unhappy. But looking at slo-mo, the guard wasn’t the cause of it.” BRAKE PROTECTOR ‘NOT GUILTY’ IN SPIES CRASH A4 Advert - A_Layout 1 13/03/12 03:32 Page1 13 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> NEWS