To improve safety in motorsport, grass, gravel and artificial turf edges have been replaced by asphalt runoff on most racetracks over the past ten years.
In 2021, the MotoGP used sensors in green run-off zones beyond the curbs of the racetrack to monitor the lane boundaries of the police, while drivers in races are now only allowed to cross the lane boundaries four times before they are penalized.
When asked how safety can be improved in the junior motorcycle racing classes after three fatal accidents in 2021 and an increase in dangerous rides, especially in Moto3, Stoner says the application of rules is a problem.
But he believes the biggest contributor to the decline in driving standards is the fact that drivers “are no longer scared” in battle because the tarmac spouts are now lining the corners.
“I think the support has to come more from the direction of the race,” Stoner began.
“I think it either needs a little more clarity or definitive decisions about driving and the like because there haven’t been any problems for so many years.
“And now there is all this leeway, there is no longer any edge of the track. It just goes on and it is bordered by some green paint.
“I think it doesn’t help the situation, people are no longer afraid because there is no edge of the track, while in the past, when it was green grass, everyone had to check themselves.
“Now it’s like, ‘Hey, I’m going to break it and it doesn’t matter if I go off the track because there’s enough track there.’
“So I think everyone has to learn to have a little more respect for each other.
Photo by: Dorna
“I don’t think it’s just the young people who are causing it. I’ve seen a lot of more mature and experienced racers still doing similar things.
“I think it’s all because the sentences and punishments may not be harsh enough and not final and clear enough.
“So if there is a lot more of it, everyone will be a little more cautious.
“But for me the worst thing that has happened to motorcycle racing is the additional run-off.
“The track just has no edge now, there is no limit and I think it’s very difficult to contain everyone.”
Stoner retired from MotoGP in 2012 and last rode a MotoGP bike in his final year as a Ducati test rider in 2018.