What do you do when your brakes fail at 134 MPH? jumpship.

Let’s say you’re at a racetrack and I want you to close your eyes as you read so you can get the full picture. You’ve got your leather on, you’re in the right mental space, and you’re ready to get out there and do great things on your bike. You can smell new tires, race gas, and various garage smells as everyone lowers their heads and makes their final preparations to get it right.

Then you hit the track on a machine you know well. You start to get into a groove when you first notice there’s a brake problem – around lap three or four. You leave the racing line and try to avoid everyone while raising your hand. It’s clear you have a problem, but no one on the outside can see what it is. is it your engine Maybe your clutch? All that isn’t you is just clear that something is wrong.

You manage to assert yourself and hold out until lap 17 – when suddenly the brakes release in a spectacular way. Suddenly, your bike is racing wildly toward the air fence, at speeds in excess of 135 miles per hour — or about 134 miles per hour. You know you can’t stop or slow down at all. You make the split-second decision to trust your racing suit to save you. Then you throw yourself off the bike at a speed that would be fine and under control on your bike but is terrible because you have no control nor a working bike under you.

They slide… and slide. Amazingly, the combination of events and all that adrenaline pumping through you makes it a simple matter to jump up immediately and shake your head in disgust when you’re done sliding. You can’t believe your race ended like this, even though you’re glad you escaped with only minor pain.

MotoGP Viñales 2020 Styrian GP Crash - Bike Aftermath

Meanwhile, the motorcycle you jumped onto crashed into the air fence at almost 200 km/h and then burst into flames almost immediately. You’ll later realize how lucky you were to get away mostly unscathed – and even luckier that no riders before you were hit by your runaway bike. The race was of course stopped immediately after this incident and restarted later.

What do you do when you have zero brakes at that speed? There’s probably no choice but to do what MotoGP rider Maverick Viñales did at the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix, honestly. Debate and questions have erupted off the track since the incident, including a question from fellow racer Alex Rins as to why Viñales didn’t pit earlier when he first realized there was a problem. There’s also the question of whether there’s a bigger problem at work here, as fellow Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo had his own brake problems at the last race – also in Austria.

Realistically, at that moment – and as dramatic as the exit was – could Viñales have made any other decision? Unlikely.

Sources: YouTube, Autosport