MotoGP riders want wildlife protection at Phillip Island after “unacceptable” near misses.

The subject was discussed at a safety commission meeting on Friday following numerous close calls with wildlife on the Australian circuit.

Aleix Espargaro narrowly avoided a collision with a wallaby in free practice 1, while the Cape Barren geese that populate Phillip Island have so far caused problems in several categories this weekend.

In previous years, several pilots have also collided with seagulls, the most famous being Andrea Iannone, when in 2015 he hit a bird fighting for the podium.

According to Suzuki rider Alex Rins, the height of the circuit’s perimeter fence should be assessed to improve rider protection.

“We already talked yesterday in the safety committee that they need to improve the fences,” he said after qualifying, “because if we hit a wallaby it could be very dangerous for the animal and also for us.

“I’m looking at this fence on the straight and it’s not that tall.”

Espargaro, meanwhile, has labeled his near miss wallaby as “unacceptable,” though he conceded that trying to keep flying birds out of the loop would never have been possible.

“At the beginning [of the meeting] everyone laughed. But they understood that it was very important in terms of safety, ”Espargaro said.

“For me it is unacceptable, it was very dangerous, let’s see if they can improve, we asked them to close the track a little better.

“You can’t do anything for birds. Birds can happen. But wallabies can’t happen. If I caught the wallaby yesterday, I was going 220km / h, big, big, big accident.”

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Local hero Jack Miller said he understood the drivers’ safety concerns, but said the wallaby seen in FP1 is unlikely to have entered the circuit since the Grand Prix weekend began.

He said it was more likely that he had already lived within the confines of the circuit and was scared out of his refuge from MotoGP bikes.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s very dangerous to have kangaroos and what not to hop around in the middle of a track when you’re doing 350km / h,” he said when questioned about the matter by Autosport.

“But as I told the security committee yesterday, I understand that there isn’t a six foot fence around this joint, but that the kangaroo didn’t just enter.

“I would say it was buried somewhere and the noise of these 300 horsepower machines starting to spin [woke it up].

“It’s not nice to have it [animals] on the track, but at the end of the day, what are you going to do? I’m sure there’s nothing waltzing past the fences now, because fences are six deep with people. I don’t think it’s a big deal. “

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, rides past the wildlife of Phillip Island

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Asked if the safety commission had come up with potential solutions, Miller reiterated that the matter is, to a large extent, unsolvable.

“At the end of the day, when you have a trail in such an iconic place like this, you’ll always have a problem with wildlife,” he said.

“Whether it’s seagulls or whatever those dodo-looking birds are, you’ll always have a problem.

“What are we going to do? Exterminate the whole island?

“Everyone knows that when you come to Australia there is wildlife. All you have to do is drive along a highway and watch the roadkill. There are a lot of animals in this commune and not a lot of people. It is unlike anywhere else in the country. world.”

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